On June 20 of this year, I got that dreadful phone call that my 20-year-old son was shot 17 times. I lived in Vermont, while he lived in Washington state with his girlfriend. The phone rang at 7:30 a.m. my time, as I was getting ready for a doctor’s appointment. The person on the other end informed me that my son had died twice. One while en route to the hospital and once while lying on the operating table. My heart dropped to the floor.

I can’t explain the fear I felt as she told me I needed to get to Washington ASAP. So I booked the first thing I could find and left that evening.

Upon arriving, I just knew I was coming to the state to make funeral arrangements. I did not know where he was shot or if he even were still alive. It felt like someone reached in my chest and kicked my heart and soul off the planet.

My son was fighting for his life, and I couldn’t do anything but pray. Now, 77 plus days in, we are still in ICU, trying to save him.

Ariauna Jackson

On January 26, 2019, I was at my grandma’s house. My boyfriend at the time called me to come outside to talk to me. I came outside, and I sat his car. We were looking into his phone because he had to show me something. While we were looking at his phone, we noticed a black car kept passing by my grandma’s house.

Next thing I knew, my boyfriend ducked, and I heard gunshots hitting the car. I ducked also and was praying that nothing happened. At the time I wasn’t afraid because I knew I wouldn’t get hurt. Next thing I knew, I felt a bullet hit me in the middle of my back. I told my boyfriend, “I believe I’ve gotten shot.” I touched my back, and there was blood everywhere.

He drove me to the hospital, and they flew me to Memphis, Tennessee. When I got there, there were a lot of doctors. They ran tests and tried to take the bullet out, but it wouldn’t come out. I went home the same night. I still could walk, and I wasn’t hurt. Till this day I have PTSD. But I am highly blessed.

Sydney Marshall

I am 23 years old. I am lucky to be alive. On June 24, 2017, I attended a birthday party. We were all sitting in the back, on a deck. A few of my friends hadn’t shown yet, and some left to go to the gas station. Ironically, they asked if I wanted to come with. I didn’t; I stayed.

I sat on my then boyfriend’s lap, and we were all sitting there, talking. The back deck was raised above the ground and was covered around the back with a curtain. We couldn’t see out into the backyard, but at about 11 p.m., gunshots filled the air. When I first heard them, I didn’t know I was being hit. I was pushed to the ground, but it was already too late: I had been shot four times. I spent a week in the hospital, and I still have complete mobility. I thank God for this. It is still hard to cope to this day, but I am so very thankful to be where I am now.


It was my day off, so I did the normal: cleaned, moved furniture around and went grocery shopping for the week. We visited some friends that day and ate dinner with them. I wanted to get back home because of a movie I wanted to watch.

My little one and I came home, got ready for the night and then sat in the family room to watch TV. After a while, I heard something that sounded like coins dropping. Immediately recognizing that someone was shooting, I grabbed my baby and hit the floor. Thinking the bullets were coming through the front or someone was shooting from the front of the apartment, I tucked my baby under me and tried to crawl, rushing to the kitchen. While doing so, I was hit in the shoulder, not knowing the bullets were coming through the kitchen walls. I remember checking to see if my baby was hit; she was fine, looking as if she didn’t know what was going on. Moving to the kitchen, shots were still going off. They hit the air conditioning unit. Not feeling anything, but knowing I was hit, I made a run for it, to the bathroom, and called my family.


On December 5, 2016, I almost lost my life. I suffered two gunshot wounds. I survived. I don’t even know to this day what warranted my home being attacked in that manner. There were eight shots and two different guns. One bullet went in my back and out my chest. It barely missed my spine, and it went between two main arteries by the time it reached my chest. I was also shot in my arm. I suffered broken ribs and nerve damage. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with PTSD.

There was never any resolution or any arrest made. Sometimes I am still scared, knowing that there’s someone out there with no regard for human life. I was not the intended target, just collateral. I stand in support of this initiative because violence is not okay. Gun violence is not okay. Bullets do not have names. I am a survivor of senseless violence.


On July 28, 2020, I went to meet my boyfriend of four years at a place he’d wanted to meet. Prior to this, I wasn’t happy in our relationship. He was very abusive and controlling, and I wanted out. I had been staying with my mom since July 18.

I went, thinking nothing of it. It was 11 p.m., and I was waiting in a dark spot — pitch dark, not a car in sight. As I called him, he didn’t answer. By this time, he was standing at my window with a gun. Within a blink of an eye, he was shooting at me, point blank. I was able to drive off and make it to the hospital, where I found out I was shot five times: Once in my face, my shoulder, my back, thigh and abdomen.

He’s in jail now. My scars are healed on the outside. Now I’m working on my scars inside.

Veronica Guevara

My name is Veronica Guevara, and I am a survivor of gun violence.

This all happened when three boys stole my mom’s ATVs. They stole them around 3 a.m. Someone heard ATVs passing by on the bike trail. I was woken up by my stepdad shaking me and telling me, “The four wheelers are gone! Someone stole the four wheelers!” Me being me, I thought he was joking because he always jokes around. When I saw his face, I could tell it was real.

My mom called the cops and reported two stolen ATVs. My siblings and I went to school as we normally do, and my mom said that we would figure it out after school.

When we got out of school, she said that we should go looking for them. So we did. We looked around any possible places they could have hidden the ATVs. We got on the bike trail again and saw only one of the stolen four-wheelers coming straight toward us. They started shooting at us; after they shot us, they just took off. My mom and I were both shot, except I was shot twice.


I was born and raised in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. While other children were out playing, I spent countless hours inside, nurturing a love of drawing. A lifelong love of visual arts was born. At the age of 28, I was shot over a dice game dispute that left me paralyzed from the neck down.

I’ve been trying to learn to handle my patience as I try and impact positive change with the work I do in the community. I reach out to the kids about life and my own experiences, which led me into this wheelchair life. Hopefully, through the work I do, the message will get across to them. I try and work on not letting my current surroundings get to me and shifting my attitude towards things — something I hope they also learn.

My experiences impact my art. If you would like to check that out, please check out the link.


I was set up for a robbery—was supposed to meet someone from an app. Once I arrived, I looked down at my phone to let them know that I was there. When I looked up, all I saw was a gun barrel. The man was wearing a mask, but the look in his eye said he was going to kill me. My head darted forward to drive off, and that’s when the first shot hit, passing through my right bicep, severing the artery. By then, I had started to floor it.

A second shot rang, hitting my trapezium, the lower knuckle of my thumb. I kept driving, trying to keep a cool head, recognizing my squirting arm and knowing I didn’t have much time. I looked for a house with a lot of cars in the front yard; I pulled into a family’s yard to ask for help. I was close to passing out, and a man ran up to tie a tourniquet on my arm. He called EMS, and I sat and waited for 15 minutes before help arrived. The pain was agonizing, no longer from the bullet wounds but the tourniquet. I survived and am currently recovering.

Malasia Howell

January 15, 2021, 4:20 p.m. I had just turned 21 in November. My mom left for work early, so I had to meet my grandparents with my two-year-old brother. I broke up an argument between my brother and his girlfriend. He took the keys to the car and threw them in the woods, and he looked for them when she left.

After getting dressed, I was heading to the back door to get my shoes when bullets ripped through the house. Standing in the kitchen, not realizing I’d been shot in the stomach but feeling a burning pain in my side, I turned around and jumped on my brother, covering him from the bullets. After the noise stopped, I let my brother up to make sure he was not hit. When I tried to get up, I was in so much pain and saw blood on the floor under me. I just knew I was going to die because it was where all your important organs are, but I survived with a bullet that’s still on my side, a centimeter from my abdominal wall. I got out of the hospital on the 17th. #StoptheGunViolence