Shannon Watts Urges a ‘Safety Net of Solutions’ to Prevent Gun Violence

Shannon Watts Urges a ‘Safety Net of Solutions’ to Prevent Gun Violence

Shannon Watts (at right; shown here with TC faculty member Sonali Rajan) knew little about advocacy when she founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. Now the organization has 6 million followers and has helped drive incremental change in states across the country. America’s gun violence epidemic is a horrific situation that persists despite overwhelming public support for obvious remedies. But responses to the crisis also demonstrate that, even in the face of powerful lobbying interests and Congressional gridlock, grassroots change is possible. Exhibit A: a story that began with one woman’s response to the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. “We set out to change hearts and minds with data, anecdotes, stories and relationships,” said Shannon Watts , founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense , at yesterday evening’s opening installment of Teachers College’s virtual Medalist Series Conversations . Today, more than 6 million Americans are aligned with the grassroots organization Watts launched in her Indianapolis home. Kicking off Convocation week at the College, the dialogue between Watts and Sonali Rajan , Associate Professor of Health Education, herself an advocate for evidence-based measures to deter gun violence, was the first of three discussions between TC faculty and 2020 TC Medal of Distinguished Service recipients whose honors were deferred because of the pandemic. In talking with Rajan, Watts confided that she launched Moms Demand Action with threadbare knowledge about advocacy work. “I sort of built the plane as I flew it,” she said […]

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