October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Bilal Shabazz

In 1990, my daughter-in-law was shot in the abdomen in an attempted robbery. She was seven months pregnant at the time, and 21 years old. The fetus, who the doctor identified as a boy, had been murdered. No one was ever arrested. This set off a chain of gun violence memories that to my surprise, were lurking just beneath my day-to-day consciousness.

My son had been shot at the age of 17. No one was ever arrested. As an adolescent, I had been shot at by someone who said he didn’t like the expression on my face. I was frozen with fear, that is, everything except my voice. I recall convincing the shooter to put the gun away, because I meant him no harm. When I was 12 years old, I saw a man get shot and killed in the street. This was before 911 was put in place, and that man died waiting for an ambulance. It’s amazing how we bury trauma, and how one incident can bring all those memories rushing to the surface. Everytown, for me, became a way to become an activist for gun violence prevention, and a kind of group therapy to deal with past trauma.

The proponents of unregulated gun ownership release statements after every gun related mass murder in this country. Their remarks usually follow the belief that, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. That’s the major reason why I believe that people should be required to go through background checks before being allowed to own firearms. Background checks save lives. Please support background check legislation where ever it is introduced. If background check legislation has not been introduced in your area, call your local, state and federal representatives and urge them to do so. Write your local newspapers and tell everyone who will listen: Background checks save lives. PLEASE do something before the next survivor story is yours.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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