February 1 is National Get Up Day, and February 1 through 7 is National Gun Violence Survivors Week. For me, these two sets of dates are synonymous. February used to be one of my favorite months of the year. My “Irish twin” brother, Scott, and I would have normally been preparing to celebrate our birthdays together, each of us decorating and preparing for the other’s special day. The best part? The 10 days when we were the same age, and we’d ceremoniously drop our birth names and solely call each other “Twin.” The fun, the laughs and the rivalry are deeply missed.
In 1993, Scott was shot and killed during an attempted armed robbery. He became a gun violence statistic, and I, a homicide survivor. After 27 years, February hasn’t gotten any easier; however, it has become a month of deliberately getting up, showing up and surviving.
So, today I “got up” again, determined to “survive” another February without my Irish twin by my side. I stand, embraced by Scott’s memory, to celebrate his life by honoring him, while continuing to do what I can to support other survivors and steadily working toward common-sense gun safety legislation.