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

Francine Perez

When I was 25, I was shot in my spinal cord. The moment the bullet hit, I instantly went numb from my chest down. I am now a paraplegic.

I was sitting in my car, and my cousin wanted me to fight his girlfriend. I would not do it since she was pregnant. My cousin got out of the car and started shooting at his girlfriend. I didn’t know he had a gun on him. Her brother saw what was happening and started to shoot back in the direction of my cousin. He didn’t want to shoot his sister, so he shot in the opposite direction, which was where my car was.

My car was hit nine times. One bullet almost hit my head—came within an inch. My cousin drove me to the police station, where I died in my car. When I awoke, I don’t know how much later, the trustees were standing around me, viewing my body. They immediately put me in the ambulance, and at the hospital, the bullet was removed. Thanks to one of the top spinal surgeons in the U.S., I was in rehab for 34 days instead of to 2 to 3. Survival.

Ronnie

Hello, my name is Ronnie, and this is my story of March 7, 2015. This is a day I will never forget! I was at a friend’s house, sleeping in. My friend woke me up and told me to go home. He regrets waking me up that day. Well, I called my cousin. She came and picked me up from my friend’s house and took me home.

When I got home, I was chilling, watching YouTube videos with my older cousin. Well, our friend who lived across the street called me and asked me if I wanted to go out with him and if I wanted to ride to Walmart with him. Little did I know he got into a argument with his girlfriend, but I didn’t know. My cousin who I was talking to, I asked him, should I ride? He said no.

I’m hardheaded: I rode with him anyway. Well, we were riding, about to get on the highway, and a car pulled up on the passenger side and shot up the car. I got hit four times in my neck, my back, my arm and side. Code Blue four times. I’m paralyzed. Don’t give up.

Broderick Hardaway

I was leaving a friend’s house around 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning. As I sat in my car in a nearby parking lot, I noticed the shadow of a masked man in my driver-side rearview mirror. I proceeded to put the car in drive, as it was already idle. The masked man attempted to open my passenger door, to no avail. He proceeded to fire two shots through my passenger window, and one struck me across the front part of my abdomen.

I drove myself to the hospital and was later flown to a high prestige trauma center in Atlanta. The officers working the case confiscated my phone and vehicle for evidence. I was treated for about two weeks, and during that process, one of the detectives told me that they were about to treat the case as a homicide because doctors didn’t think I would make it.

Once I was discharged from the hospital, things got worse before they got better. I went to pick my car up from the towing company that the officers used to have the car towed and was told that I was responsible for paying the $800 towing and storage fees.

Jo

I am a gunshot survivor. I was shot by a person whom I called a friend. A relative of mine had owed money and never had the chance to pay off the debt… until a week later, when the debt was finally paid off. I was double-crossed and had been shot in the face once.

Monique Fregoso

In August 2013, I became a survivor of gun violence. At the age of 18, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time: I was a victim caught in between crossfire in a gun violence scene. I had just arrived at the park. I was still in my car, looking at myself in my mirror, when, out of nowhere, I saw a SUV turn on high beams and drive off a bit fast. I didn’t think anything of it.

The next thing I heard was a gun being fired into my car and then a few bullets hitting my car. One bullet had gone through my back driver-side light, then through my trunk, my backseat and my passenger seat. That’s when the stray bullet hit my left upper abdomen. I yelled in pain, feeling my insides were burning, my vision going in and out. I was rushed to the hospital, and that’s when I realized gun violence needs to end.

The bullet is still in my stomach. It was an inch away from hitting my lungs; doctors didn’t do surgery since I was at risk of damage. It’s 2021, and I still have the bullet in me. End gun violence!

Cacy Roberts

My son and I are victims of gun violence. On December 21, 2020, we were lying in bed, and someone shot up our home. From the street they shot about 11 bullets from a high-powered rifle through my upstairs, downstairs and car. One of the bullets pierced my five-year-old son’s head, exited the other side and then hit me in the back of the upper right arm, where it remains. My youngest son, age three, watched the whole thing.

My five-year-old lost his eyesight, and he will have the remains of his eyes completely removed. Luckily he didn’t suffer any brain damage. He did have to have brain surgery to repair the fracture in his frontal skull. He also lost his sense of smell and taste since those are located in the area that was damaged. He’s now learning to cope with life without vision; he’s learning Braille and how to navigate with his cane. He’s handing the ordeal very well, considering.

Scout Kirkland

On June 30, 2018, I was shot in the chest. The experience itself was traumatic, but my experience with the court system in Ohio after the fact is what made the situation as bad as it is. The dude who shot me was charged with a misdemeanor for “negligent assault.” He did 63 days in jail, got two years probation and can still own a gun after he gets off. I spent more time in the hospital than the man who shot me served. If that doesn’t show how broken our system is, I don’t know what will.

Vincent Gazzani

Three-quarters of an inch from my heart. I was 3/4 of an inch from losing my life, as my friends and I were shot from behind by a random gunman.

My San Diego vacation was supposed to be about surfing, golfing and hiking, but instead was about survival and perspective on how I can find love and happiness in the darkest of places.

I was saved on the street by two heroes who stayed with me until the EMT came. All the great medical professionals of San Diego made sure I got another chance to hug my loved ones and let them realize that this wasn’t the end. When I was on the street, in my darkest moment, wondering if my life was over, these people came in and made sure that a 27-year-old man in the prime of his life could make an impact in this world. They got to make sure the most wonderful parents, sister, family and friends could see that young man grow up and eventually be a father and role model to many others.

I have a lot of life to live, and I want to end gun violence. We can do it.

Chelsey Crawford

My boyfriend and I were both shot in the head with a .45. He did not survive. We have a beautiful daughter together. We were shot by a gun that was stolen. We were shot for no reason—not that there is ever a reason. Forever my life has changed.