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Why We're Here

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

We are the founders of Virginia Moms for Change, a nonprofit organization established in April 2023 with the singular goal of ending gun violence in our community. We are moms, who like those around our state and nation, find ourselves crippled by fear and anxiety about the safety of our children. We are also moms who are tired of feeling hopeless but recognize how scary and intimidating it can be to call your legislators, put yourself out there, and fight for change.

While we all come from different backgrounds, have different political views, and live in different places, we have one thing in common. We have had enough. Virginia Moms For Change is about making gun violence prevention more approachable and actionable.

For decades, we have watched as gun violence decimates families, tears communities apart, and claims the lives of our most precious and vulnerable—our children. An estimated 4.6 million American children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns. Firearms are the leading mechanism of death in pediatric suicides and homicides. Increased access to firearms is associated with increased rates of firearm deaths. We also know that there are several loopholes in the background check process, making it easier for firearms to end up in the wrong hands. From daily violence wreaking havoc on our communities, to the horrific mass shootings in schools like Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas or the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, we cannot sit idly by while innocent lives are taken. Not one more.

Before we created Virginia Moms for Change, we found ourselves in the same loop—a shooting happens, we would cry, we would hug our children extra tight, we would donate, we would make a call or two, and then we would carry on with our lives—and so would our lawmakers. When the next shooting happens, we would find ourselves back in that loop. The families of victims do not get to hug their children. They do not get to move on. They live in a daily nightmare. We knew we could not allow this loop to continue as more and more innocent lives are taken by gun violence. And neither can our lawmakers.

That’s why we’re here. For many of us, this is our first foray into legislative advocacy. We are not experts. We are moms who want to fight for our children. If you’ve been feeling the same way and don’t know where to start, we’re here for you. If you are ready to get off the sidelines and join the fight with us, we’ve got a plan!

Here are a few ways you can take action today:

  • Save the following numbers in your phone and commit to calling daily to tell them how important gun violence prevention legislation is to you:

    • Senator Tim Kaine 202-224-4024

    • Senator Mark Warner 202-224-2023

    • Senator Chuck Schumer 202-224-6542 (He is the Senate majority leader and you can ask him to call the Assault Weapons Ban to the floor for a vote)

    • Your representative in the House of Representatives; find yours here

    • Governor Glenn Youngkin (804) 786-2211

  • Find your Virginia Senator and Delegate here, and check out our candidates' guide here (all 140 Virginia General Assembly members are up for election in November)

  • Contact the candidates running in your House and Senate district and ask them what their position is on gun safety legislation

  • Follow @virginiamomsforchange on Instagram and share our content

  • Volunteer with Virginia Moms for Change—sign up here

  • Find a petition to sign

  • Donate to any of the following organizations:

  • Have conversations with your community. Not sure where to start? Find our conversation guide here

We know what it feels like to wonder, “Does my voice or my phone call really matter?” We are here to tell you that it does, and it’s essential to driving change for our children.

We are grateful for this community and look forward to working together for a safer country.

With Hope,

The Board Members of Virginia Moms for Change,

Carolyn Kochard, Maribeth Becker, Sarah Kaufman, Nicky Payne, and Mary Bowen Artus

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