The message below was sent to JCCA staff following the tragic high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
Dear JCCA Colleagues:
Yesterday afternoon, a gunman opened fire on students at a Florida high school, killing at least 17 people and wounding many more. Tragically, it surpassed Columbine as the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones, and we send strength to the young students and school staff as they struggle to rebuild and move forward after such a horrific event.
Although I have written about this topic before, I am compelled to write again. The fact that mass shootings have become so ordinary is precisely the reason that we cannot be complacent. Gun violence is a child welfare issue. Ninety-two Americans are killed by firearms every day, and children between 5 and 14 years old in the United States are 17 times more likely to be murdered by firearms than children in other industrialized nations. Because of our work with children who have suffered similar violence, we know too well that even those who have escaped physical harm have a difficult road ahead.
Some of the more poignant facets that emerged yesterday were the heart-breaking social media posts from students trapped in the school. Their voices were so sadly familiar. Tragedies like yesterday’s strike at the heart of our mission to repair the world, child by child. They affect us all, including our clients and their families, in different ways. Let us pray that these massacres end today—and take action, whenever possible, to address the issue by supporting one another, providing quality care, and advocating for meaningful reforms to the devastating and destructive context within which gun violence occurs.
Thank you again for all your work and courage caring for our children, young people and families. Your dedication is, as always, inspiring and humbling.
Take care and please be safe,