Bloomington's local chapter of Mom's Demand Action for Gun Sense in America plans to gather Saturday at the Monroe County Public Library to honor gun violence survivors by listening to survivors' stories and creating hand-folded boxes for gun violence victims.
“As a society, we struggle to grasp the toll of this violence,” said Courtney Daily, co-leader of Bloomington’s chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The event, "Moments That Survive" is 3 p.m. Saturday in room 1C at the library. Daily said even those who aren't moms are welcome to attend. Attendees will create and decorate “soul boxes,” which are hand-folded origami boxes.
The organization will create one “soul box” for each victim of gun violence in the U.S. Roughly 36,000 Americans die each year due to gun violence, according to Giffords Law Center. The boxes will be displayed in locations across the country, such as cities in Oregon and Denver, Colorado, Daily said.
Daily said the idea is each box will be different, just like each soul who died is different.
Moms Demand Action is a nonpartisan organization that supports the second amendment but also sees the value in reducing the epidemic of gun violence, Daily said. Moms Demand Action is a national organization with chapters in all 50 states.
Daily said the organization plans meetings and educates the public on gun safety.
Moms Demand Action was founded by an Indiana mom named Shannon Watts who started a Facebook group after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. Daily said the organization has grown since then. The first Moms Demand Action national leadership conference she attended in 2017 had around 500 attendees, and the conference she attended last year had nearly 1800.
In 2019, The Bloomington Police Department saw an increase in calls concerning firearms and an increase in the number of crimes committed with a firearm, according to its 2019 public safety report. Daily said it relates to the national issue of gun violence.
“I’ve seen with my own eyes how more and more people are getting frustrated with gun violence in our country,” she said.
The increase in citizens concerned with gun violence encouraged Moms Demand Action to pay close attention to gun bills being passed through the state legislature. Daily said different chapters in Indiana coordinate to have volunteers in the audience at the Statehouse when legislation concerning guns is discussed.
Many Americans experience gun violence, including adults as well as children. Daily said Moms Demand Action wants to make survivors of gun violence feel represented and have the space to share their story if they choose.
“We feel that through legislation, education and policy change, we can reduce gun violence,” Daily said.