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Leo Politi Elementary School Recipient of WAGV Book Donation by jianghongl

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									                                                             The Activist
Leo Politi Elementary School
Recipient of WAGV Book Donation Program




                                                    E
                                                          very year, WAGV uses children’s books as centerpieces for our Annual Brunch. These
  One Child’s Perspective:                                books are donated by the generosity of Irwin Levin & Sanford Weiner. After the
                                                          Brunch, these books are donated to a local elementary school where gun violence is
  I promise not to use guns
  and drugs and say bad                             a common occurrence in their neighborhood. This year’s recipient was Leo Politi Elementary
                                                    School where WAGV board member, Sandy Savett is a
  words. I have a dream that
                                                    volunteer tutor. The 2nd grade classes, taught by
                                                                                                                   Inside This Issue:
  all the people would be equal.
  Don’t hate another person.                        Ms.Williams & Ms. Mendoza put together a moving program          l Spotlight                 2
  I promise to not use guns                         for WAGV staff and board members, featuring posters, songs,
  and violence. I promise to                        poetry, and pledges (see left) from the students stating that    l News                      3
  care like Dr. Martin Luther,                      they would never resort to gun violence. The day ended
  Jr. He showed courage.                            with Board President Ann Colburn reading one of the              l Outreach                  4
                                                    donated books to the school assembly.
  - Bryson, Age 7
                                                                                                                    l Advocacy                   5
                                                    WAGV’s goal for this program is to offer inspiration and
                                                    hope to children affected by gun violence and give them
 Pictured Above:
                                                                                                                    l Thank You                  6
                                                    an opportunity to have fun, be creative and to expand their
 Board President, Ann Colburn, saying a few         imagination. We are committed not only to the prevention
 words at the end of the children’s presentation.                                                                   l Letters                    7
                                                    of gun violence, but also improving the future of children.

                                    Women Against Gun Violence Newsletter Fall 2007
                     P.O. Box 1501 Culver City, CA 90232-1501 w T: (310) 204-2348 w F: (310) 204-6643
                                             www.wagv.org w wagv@wagv.org
    Page 2



WAGV Intern                                      New Board Member Chief Sharon Papa
                                                                                                   Spotlight
H                                              S
         ello, my name
                                                      haron K. Papa joined the Los Angeles         Women’s Leadership Council. Chief Papa’s honors
         is Cynthia Reza
                                                      Police Department (LAPD) in 1997 when        and awards include being selected as the 2004
         and I am a
                                                      the     Metropolitan       Transportation    Woman of the Year Award by the Century City
         WAGV Student
                                               Authority (MTA) Police Department merged            Chamber of Commerce and she is a recipient of
Intern. I first learned
                                               with the LAPD. Chief Papa served with the MTA       the 2006 Italian American Achievement Award
about the organization in high school
                                               Police Department for almost 17 years holding       presented by the La Piazza Cultural Center.
when I was invited to attend WAGV’s
Annual Courageous Leadership Awards            the position of Chief of Police from 1990 until
                                                                                                   As a forward thinking manager, Chief Papa
Brunch. After attending the brunch and         the merger in 1997. Chief Papa’s leadership,
                                                                                                   appreciates the importance of establishing and
learning more about the organization, I        direction and vision contributed significantly to
                                                                                                   maintaining a liaison between the LAPD and
wanted to get involved. Last summer I          the successful merger of the MTA Police
                                                                                                   community groups dedicated raising public
was able to intern with the organization.      Department and the LAPD.
                                                                                                   awareness on important civic issues. She is a
Though I haven’t personally been affected                                                          frequent speaker at universities, conferences
                                               On February 23, 2003, Chief Papa made City
by gun violence, helping people who have                                                           and community forums. Chief Papa is devoted
                                               history when she was sworn in as the first
and informing families how to be safe and                                                          to mentoring aspiring executives and sharing
                                               woman promoted to the rank of Assistant
avoid gun violence was really rewarding.                                                           her experience with the community.
                                               Chief for the LAPD. Holding the position of
This summer I am helping the organization      Director, Office of Support Services (OSS) she
                                                                                                   The cause which Women Against Gun Violence
develop a product for youth on topics of       reports directly to the Chief of Police and is
                                                                                                   is dedicated to is of major importance to law
gun violence and its relation to other forms   responsible for managing the following entities:
                                                                                                   enforcement. Gun violence tears at the very
of violence. I have conducted research         Administrative and Technical Services Bureau,
                                                                                                   fabric of society and threatens those dedicated
about different violence topics such           Training Group, Behavioral Science Services,
                                                                                                   to protecting our communities. Although the
as bullying, gang violence, retaliations,      Information and Communications Services
                                                                                                   City of Los Angeles has witnessed a steadily
relationship violence and suicide.             Bureau, OMBUDS Office, Planning and Research
                                                                                                   declining crime rate, in 2006 the Department
                                               Division and the Transit Liaison Unit.
                                                                                                   recorded 12 incidents of assaults with a firearm
I was amazed by the research I have read
                                               Chief Papa is an active member and past             against LAPD officers. Unfortunately, this year
online and in books. It is unbelievable to
                                               President of the Peace Offices Association of       the number of assaults has increased 17%. By
see that 60% of high school boys and 31%
                                               Los Angeles County. She is also a member            bringing this issue to the forefront, the public
of middle school boys said they could
                                               of the International Association of Chiefs of       at large can help stem the tide of gun violence.
get a gun if they wanted to in the U.S.
                                               Police, the Police Executive Research Forum, the    Chief Papa encourages the members of
To see that as many as 160,000 students
                                               Organization for Women Executives and the           Women Against Gun Violence to continue their
stay home on any given day because
                                                                                                   outstanding work.
they’re afraid of being bullied is shocking.
Information like this encourages me to
work on this project so that students who        Supporter Mike Roos

                                                 M
are being bullied or harassed by gangs                      ike Roos joined the WAGV Board of      At one of WAGV’s early Education for Action
can learn smart ways to deal with some of                   Advisors       soon     after   the    luncheons, Mike regaled the participants
the situations they encounter.                              organization began. He brings to       with hair-raising tales of seeking votes for
                                                 the Board a passionate commitment to the          passage of the bill. He told of stalking a
I have great hope for this project. It can       issue, and also a modicum of fame in gun          hold-out legislator in her district by mobilizing
help many young people who, at times, are        regulation circles. He is one of the authors of   her constituents to carry signs challenging
confused and may not know how to deal            the eponymous Roberti-Roos Weapons                her wherever she went. In the end, the vote
with tough situations. I hope this project       Control Act of 1989—landmark legislation          was breathlessly close, but the good guys
will help guide them to make positive            banning assault weapons.                          prevailed. The assault weapon ban became a
decisions to resolve their problems.                                                               model for the nation.



                                                        www.wagv.org w wagv@wagv.org
      News                                                                                                                                             Page 3


                                                                                                                                      BOARD OF DIRECTORS
                                                                                                                                      Chair - Ann Reiss Lane
                                                                                                                                      President - Ann Colburn
                                                                                                                                      ViCe President - Sheila Goldberg
                                                                                                                                      SeCretary - Rita Hoisch
                                                                                                                                      Treasurer -Shirley Bailey
                                                                                                                                      Sheri Barnett
                                                                                                                                      Frieda Rapoport Caplan
                                                                                                                                      Lois Gunther
                                                                                                                                      Katherine Hennigan
                                                                                                                                      Nicole Kline, Esq.
                                  WAGV Puts on Another Successful Brunch Event                                                        Nadine LeBlanc




                                  O
                                                                                                                                      Glenda Meraz
                                            n May 20, over 300 people joined        Antonio Villaraigosa, who was visibly moved       Eileen O’Connell
                                            WAGV at the Luxe Hotel for the          after speaking to some of the survivors.          Judith Palarz
                                            Annual Courageous Leadership                                                              Chief Sharon Papa
                                                                                    There were also six “From My Perspective”         Sandy Savett
                                  Award Brunch to celebrate the progress
                                                                                    presentations from members of the WAGV            Roberta G. Schiller, MSPH
                                  made on gun violence and to educate people                                                          Bettye Sweet
                                  on our the latest legislative efforts. This was   Speakers Bureau. Five youth and one mother        Carolann Taylor
                                  one of the most profitable events in WAGV         told their personal stories of gun violence and
                                                                                                                                      BOARD OF ADVISORS
                                  history, raising over $122,000.                   how they were able to persevere from their
                                                                                    devastating situations. Eddie Flores, Cynthia     Sheriff Lee Baca
                                                                                                                                      Bishop Charles E. Blake
                            Our honorees were West Hollywood City                   Reza and Luis Rivera gave their perspective       Chief William J. Bratton
                            Councilmember, Abbe Land a pioneer in                   living in low income communities and talked       Mark Chekal-Bain
                            sponsoring gun legislation, Sayre Weaver,               about how they dealt with peer pressure,          Bill D’Elia
                            Esq. the attorney who won a landmark                    drugs and gangs. Christian Heyne talked           Judge George M. Dell
                                                                                                                                      Hon. Michael Feuer
                            case for local gun laws, and Wells Fargo                about growing up in an affluent community
                                                                                                                                      Rabbi Laura Geller
                            represented by Carmel Sella honored for                 and realizing that violence affects all           Jackie Gottlieb
                            their commitment to the community. They                 communities. Alec Foster described a first        Sandy Gooch
                            all spoke to why they are strong supporters             hand experience of gun violence at the            Dr. Peter Greenwood
                                                                                                                                      Hon. James K. Hahn
                            of ending gun violence and the importance               young age of two years old. Finally, Bettye
                                                                                                                                      Sweet Alice Harris
                            to STOP GUN VIOLENCE, the theme of this                 Sweet gave the unique perspective as a            Daniel Hinerfeld
Counter Clockwise from top: year’s event.                                           parent seeking unanswerable questions.            Marilyn Hudson
WAGV Chair Ann Reiss                                                                                                                  Maxene Johnston
Lane with Los Angeles area                                                                                                            Hon. Paul Krekorian, Esq.
elected officials, Mike Feuer,
                                  The event program included inspiring              Thanks to everyone who supports our
                                  speeches from Los Angeles City Council                                                              Hon. Abbe Land
Mark Ridley-Thomas, Eric                                                            valuable work here at WAGV. The monies            Eleanor Montaño
Garcetti, Avis Ridley-            President, Eric Garcetti, Assistant Majority      raised will help fund our community and
Thomas and Abbe Land;
                                                                                                                                      Luis Montes, MD
                                  Leader Kevin De Leon, who presented his           legislative work. We hope that you will join      Hon. Bernard C. Parks
Honoree Abbe Land with
Presenter Zev Yaroslavsky         bill, “The Safe Neighborhoods Handgun             us at next year’s event.                          Bobbie Parks
Honoree Sayre Weaver with         Ammunition Regulation & Control                                                                     Felicia Parks-Mena
Presenter Josh Horowitz;                                                                                                              Charlie K. Parsons
                                  Act” (AB 362), and Los Angeles Mayor
Honoree Carmel Sella with                                                                                                             Hon. Joy Picus
Presenter Bernard Parks;                                                                                                              Dr. George Regas
Ray Reisler and a WAGV                                                                                                                Nancy Morgan Ritter
guest look at confiscated guns;                                                                                                       Hon. Mike Roos
WAGV staff with Antonio                                                                                                               Jan Ross
Villaraigosa and WAGV                                                                                                                 Carmel Sella
Board Member Eileen                                                                                                                   Amanda Susskind, Esq.
O’Connell; the “From My
Perspective” Speakers with                                                                                                            SPECIAL COUNSEL
Marisela Romero.                                                                                                                      Sayre Weaver, Esq.
                                                                                                                                      Richards, Watson & Gershon


                                                                    www.wagv.org w wagv@wagv.org
   Page 4



Majestic Realty Youth Leadership Council - Inspiring Youth to Take Action
                                                                                                        Outreach
   S
           tudents living in Los Angeles are no       and the ease of obtaining a gun.                     Majestic Realty Foundation Coordinator,
           strangers to the impact of gun                                                                  Meghan Loper, reported that “students
                                                      Students also participated in a “Stepping            were genuinely moved by the victims who
           violence. This was the overwhelming
                                                      Into My Shoes” activity where students               spoke and shared original poetry about
   response from the Majestic Realty Youth
                                                      read a first-person account of a gun-related         their experiences. But it was seeing the
   Leadership Council Meeting where Women
                                                      experience. Later groups of students found           young men in wheelchairs, and hearing
   Against Gun Violence hosted an evening of
                                                      out that these were incidents from other             from a mother and a grandmother who
   activities and discussions on the topic of
                                                      WAGV group leaders involved in the day’s             had lost their loved ones that really brought
   gun violence and community safety. WAGV
                                                      events. Students brainstormed ways that              home the lasting impacts of gun violence.”
   speakers Eddie Flores, Tarik Hawkins,
                                                      they could help stop gun violence in their           Students left the activity motivated to take
   Sheri       Barnett,     Nadine     LeBlanc,
                                                      homes and schools. Some of the solutions             an active role in their communities to stop
   Dexter McDaniel and WAGV Program
                                                      proposed by the students included                    gun violence. Both students and survivors
   Director Marisela Romero, talked about
                                                      increasing education for students and                felt inspired to help others prevent
   their personal losses to gun violence and
                                                      families about the dangers of guns; holding          violence.
   students discussed their encounters with
                                                      candlelight vigils; joining or creating
   gun-related incidents. Students described
   stories about the shootings in their
                                                      neighborhood watch groups; and writing                                     WAGV Speakers
   neighborhoods, their gun toting friends
                                                      to elected officials.                                                       have reached

                                                                                                                              1053             Youth
                                                                                                                                  so far this year.




 Over 50 students broke into small group
 discussions with WAGV speakers.


                                                          WAGV speaker Tarik Hawkins
     Have Something To Say?                               speaks to a group of youth about his
     Come Join the WAGV                                   experience with gun violence.
                                                                                                               Program Director, Marisela Romero listens to
     Speakers Bureau                                                                                           students tell their personal stories.




        H
                  ave you ever considered giving back to the community               This year Women Against Gun Violence will be hosting a Public
                  and voicing your frustration about the levels of gun               Speaking Training at the Center For Healthier Communities on
                  violence in Los Angeles? Come take a stand and learn               September 21. This half day training will be open to the public
                  about the Women Against Gun Violence Speakers                      and community partners. Participants will learn how to read their
        Bureau. Be a part of the solution to gun violence. Learn how to              audience, organize a speech, decrease their levels of anxiety and
        express yourself on an issue that is devastating the lives of families       use verbal and non-verbal communication. Using interactive
        on a daily basis. Learn how to educate audiences on ways to                  activities, participants will learn skills and techniques that can be
        prevent gun violence in their home, schools and communities.                 applied to their involvement in the Speakers Bureau as well as
        Make a difference and join us as we work to prevent gun violence             in their own personal lives. Make a difference and come join the
        through education, advocacy and community mobilization.                      fun. For more information, please contact Marisela Romero at the
                                                                                     WAGV office.

                                                            www.wagv.org w wagv@wagv.org
   Advocacy                                                                                                                                 Page 5



Education For Action

 O
          n February 7, 2008 WAGV will be         In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting           that systems be efficient and comprehensive
          hosting an Education for Action         tragedy determining when and how a person           to ensure public safety.
          conference on prohibitions to           becomes prohibited from owning a firearm
 firearm ownership with a focus on mental         due to mental health or other triggers has          If you or your organization would like more
 health. The areas addressed during the           become a priority. California laws, and the         information on the conference please contact
 conference will be the triggering events that    thorough background check conducted by              Devin Cotter at the WAGV office. As the
 cause a person to become prohibited, the         the California Department of Justice would          conference approaches more information,
 reporting of prohibitions and the training and   have prevented the Virginia-Tech shooter            as well as tickets will be available at
 public information available about firearm       from legally purchasing a gun. Even with            www.wagv.org.
 prohibition.                                     these effective regulations in place, it is vital


 Local Leaders

 C
        ouncilmembers Abbe Land and                   about the dangers of guns in the home. These
        Bernard Parks, from West Hollywood and        ordinances underscore the importance of
        Los Angeles, have successfully passed         educating prospective and current gun owners
        ordinances that mandate warning signs
 in gun shops. The sign states that a gun in the
                                                      on these issues.
                                                                                                                            WARNING
                                                      There are mandated warnings for cigarettes and             The City of West Hollywood has
 home actually endangers the occupants. For too
                                                      alcohol to ensure consumers make an informed               found that keeping a gun in the
 long people have accepted the myth that a gun
                                                      choice about a product that can kill. Firearms              home increases the danger to
 can and should be kept for protection.
                                                      however, have no warnings. WAGV will be                           family members.
 Women Against Gun Violence is making this            advocating for these warning signs as another
 issue our top priority for local action. A key       step in our campaign to educate gun owners.
 part of WAGV’s mission is to educate the public


Ammunition Regulation NOW!

 G
          uns need bullets to kill,   a permit for buyers. Today,         many crime reducing benefits.
          and it is the bullet that   without a sellers license, the      A background check would be
          delivers the death and      only way for law enforcement to     required to ensure that buyers
 destruction of gun violence.         know who is selling ammunition      are not felons or other prohibited
 However, unlike firearms, there      would be going door to door         persons, and the recording of
 are few regulations of the sale of   and asking. No one can even         buyer and sale information
 ammunition. A recent RAND            accurately estimate the amount      would be a powerful tool for
 study stated that this was like      of ammunition sold in the state.    law enforcement. The permit
                                                                                                                 including       Assemblymember
 regulating needles but not           Furthermore, there are currently    would also affect illegal sales
                                                                                                                 De León and Senator Jack Scott
 regulating drugs.                    more regulations on the sale        by increasing the street price
                                                                                                                 in passing this legislation. Like
                                      of spray paint than handgun         of ammunition. As seen with
 Assistant   Majority     Leader                                                                                 many of the important fights in
                                      ammunition. With 8 kids dying       cigarettes, an increase in the price
 Kevin de León (right) identified                                                                                WAGV’s history, the “junk gun”
                                      a day from gun violence it is       would discourage use by minors
 the two components needed for                                                                                   and assault weapons bans, this
                                      imperative that our legislators     or others who would have to buy
 effective ammunition regulation                                                                                 will not be easy or quick but it has
                                      take action.                        ammunition from a trafficker.
 in his groundbreaking bill, AB                                                                                  the great potential of reducing
 362. A license for sellers and The buyers permit would have WAGV is proud to join leaders                       crime and saving lives.



                                                         www.wagv.org w wagv@wagv.org
 Page 6
                                                                                              Thank You
Reverend Jesse Jackson and WAGV Honored

 R
          everend Jackson was the keynote     has been working together for over ten years Accepting
          speaker at the Legal Community      to make California safer through sensible gun the award
          Against Violence (LCAV) Anniversary regulations.                                     on behalf of
 dinner on June 28th. Jackson, founder and                                                     WAGV were
 president of Rainbow Push Coalition, an      WAGV has had the pleasure of working F o u n d e r
 organization fighting for social change, has with LCAV for many years on state and local and Chair
 recently protested against gun violence      firearm regulations. LCAV provides the legal Ann Reiss Lane, Executive Director
 outside suburban gun stores. On August       viewpoint in addressing gun violence and Christine F. Robinson and Advocacy Program
 28, he will hold a national day of protest toprovides pro-bono defense to cities that Manager Devin Cotter. WAGV would like
 focus the nation’s attention on the problem  have introduced firearm regulations and are to thank LCAV for their continued efforts
 of illegal gun trafficking.                  sued by the NRA or similar groups. This legal to prevent gun violence and the honor to
                                              support has made it possible for cities to take participate in their wonderful event.
 Women Against Gun Violence was honored at a stand on gun violence while facing legal Above:
 the event as a member of the California Gun threats from opposition groups.                  Ann Reiss Lane and Reverend Jesse Jackson discuss violence
 Violence Prevention Coalition. The coalition                                                 prevention efforts at the LCAV dinner.


We would like to thank the donors who made our 2007 Silent Auction possible.
        A Noise Within                          Dr. Gordon                            Las Rocas Resort and Spa in Rosarito,   See’s Candy
        Anna Del Rio                            Dr. Phil Show                         Baja California Norte, Mexico           Senator Dianne Feinstein
        Antigua Sportswear                      Edwin Prober                          Laura and Jim Maslon                    Sheila Goldberg
        Antoinette Portis                       Elizabeth Forsythe-Hailey             Lois Neiter Fine Arts                   Sherman Oaks Castle Park
        Architecture Tours of LA                Engine Co. No. 28                     Los Angeles Clippers                    Sierra’s Restaurant
        Armstrong Garden Centers                Equinox Fitness                       Los Angeles County Museum of Arts       Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
        Barry Glassner                          Festival of Arts                      Los Angeles Dodgers                     Six Flags Magic Mountain
        Benihana                                Fleming Entertainment Centers, Inc.   Los Angeles Lakers                      Skirball Cultural Center
        Bettye Sweet                            Ford Theatre Foundation               Los Angeles Police Department           Sunset Books
        Bill D’Elia- David Kelley Productions   Frederick’s of Hollywood              Macy’s West                             The Children’s Discovery Museum of
        Binx Carter                             Frieda Caplan                         Mélisse Restaurant                      the Desert
        Bob Baker Marionette Theater            Gerald Prolman                        Metropolitan Theatre Corporation        The Chocolate Moose
        Boca Raton Resort and Club              Gil Garcetti                          Mimis Café                              The Colony Theatre Company
        Brass.~Cap.                             Groundlings Theater                   Miracle Springs Resort and Spa          The Comedy & Magic Club
        Broadway Deli                           H&M Landing                           Monarchs Gymnastics                     The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
        Brooke Sundstrom                        Haas & Co. Hair Design                Mountain Gate Country Club              The Ice House Comedy Nightclub and
        Build A Bear Workshop                   Harper’s Bar and Grill                Museum of Tolerance                     Restaurant
        Café 50’s                               High School Musical                   Neutrogena Corporation                  The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
        Callaway Vineyard & Winery              House of Blues, Orange County         Noma Restaurant                         Department
        Cambria Winery                          In-and-Out                            Off the Wall Catering                   The Luxe Hotel Bel Air
        Carol Doumani                           James R. Lane                         Original Tommy’s World Famous           The Ocean Institute
        Cerritos Center                         Japanese American National Museum     Hamburgers                              The Warehouse Restaurant
        Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom          John Cassese “The Dance Doctor”       Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier   Toscana
        Christine’s Color Concept               Joseph Martin Salon                   Peachy and Mark Levy                    UCLA Bruins
        Colm and Brian Byrne                    Judy Zeidler                          Peet’s Coffee and Tea                   UCLA Hammer Museum
        Colm Byrne                              Juicy Couture                         Phoebe Beasley Art Studio               Universal Studios Hollywood
        Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez           June Travolta                         Playa Vista                             University of Southern California
        Darylle B                               K9s Only                              REPRISE! Broadway’s Best                Up and Away Jackets
        DC Golf                                 Karen Huner                           Ripley’s Believe it or Not!             Vicente Foods
        del Mano Gallery                        Katie Gates                           Rob Zeiger                              Weathervane For Men
        Destinations of Excellence              Kings Seafood Co.                     Rockreation                             Westfeild
        Disney Worldwide Outreach               La Coupe Lintermans                   Ron Barnett                             Whoop, Inc.
        Dolce Enoteca                           La Cuesta Inn                         Ruth Rosen                              Yummy Yoga
        Doug and Jackie Wiggins                 La Fondue Bourguignonne               San Diego Aerospace Museum              Yves Bistro




                                                             www.wagv.org w wagv@wagv.org
  Letters                                                                                                                                  Page 7




A Letter from Ann Colburn, Board President
  Julio Alcantar, a June 2007 graduate of           Finally my sister unlocked the door. I went     At that instant I knew that something went
  Manual Arts High School Academy of                inside . . . and saw my brother and little      horribly wrong. I ran down the street . . . The
  Finance, wrote this essay for his college         nephews on the floor crawling to the back       horrific scene caused my sister to pass out.
  application. His experience of losing a friend    room. Then I heard my mother . . . screaming    In a pool of blood, my best friend, Semaj, lay
  to guns and gangs at the age of 12 turned         hysterically, “HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!! ” I     robbed of his friends, his family, and his life.
  him from a potential gang member and              didn’t know why she was screaming, but
  school dropout into a determined young            my blood turned cold as my fear for the         Semaj was on his way to buy food for his
  man who wants to be part of the solution.         worst enhanced. Fortunately she was only        grandmother. He was hit by the gunfire
  Julio will enter the University of California,    pleading with the 911 Operator.                 because he had nowhere to run. Hundreds
  San Diego, this Fall to study criminal justice.                                                   of people watched Semaj lie there and die
  We wish him well.                                 I assured her that I was okay, but in all . . .
                                                    honesty, I wasn’t really sure. My adrenaline
  It was around 4:30 p.m., March 16, 2001;          was so high that I didn’t know if I was Things like this happen to people in my
  I was watering the grass. A couple of             hurt or not. I crept back to the door and neighborhood everyday. It has caused me
  houses down were approximately 30 gang            the assailants continued firing. It was as to want to change my area. It is why I . . .
  members. I knew it was trouble waiting to         if they were on a mission and had endless [will] attend college so that I may one day
  happen . . . [Then] I saw the first sparks from   ammunition. The shooting finally ended.         affect my neighborhood in a positive way.
  the gun go off.                                                                                   It hurts to see young kids live this way; it’s
                                                    When the streets silenced, I went outside why I want to pursue criminal law and bring
  My life flashed before my eyes, and I asked       and heard my close friend, Avery, hysterically justice to where it is needed most.
  myself, “Is this it? Is this how it’s meant to    screaming and hitting the floor . . . screaming
  end for me?” . . . Shot after shot after shot,    “Semaj!! Semaj! Semaj! Why? Why?”
  me not knowing what to expect or what
  was going to happen.


Executive Director, Christine F. Robinson, JD

  W
               hen I first began my work here, my first task was to         WAGV has gone into the community to ask youth agencies to
               attend some of our speaking engagements. My first            participate in the development of a youth booklet. This booklet
               one was at A Place Called Home, where survivors spoke        will demonstrate gun violence and its relationship to other
  to after-school elementary students. When the question was asked          forms of violence. It will also discuss the possible legal and moral
  by one of the speakers,“Who knows someone who had been either             consequences of such activities. Youth from agencies such as
  shot or killed by a gun?” Of the 75 students, only 5 kids did not raise   A Place Called Home and Homeboy Industries are involved in
  their hands. I was shocked and horrified that for some kids, violence     creating artwork and poetry that will be featured in the booklet.
  is just as normal as catching a cold. It is very disheartening.           Presently, youth are meeting with WAGV Program Director Marisela
                                                                            Romero and Summer Intern Cynthia Reza to brainstorm and give
   I wanted to tell each of them that this is not normal behavior and       input to these issues. WAGV is confident
  there was something they could do to make a difference. Then my           that involving Los Angeles youth in
  staff and I came up with an idea. We wanted to educate our youth,         the design of the booklet is a sure way
  and at the same time give our youth a voice about the violence that       to increase the popularity and success
  occurs in their neighborhoods. Youth are rarely given opportunities       of this project. This booklet may not
  to give their input to solutions or alternatives to problems. However,    end the violence that occurs in their
  topics such as violence, bullying, gangs and suicide are issues that      neighborhoods, but it will educate and
  today’s youth are very familiar with. We recognize the key role           teach children about their options and
  youth play in identifying, participating and preventing violence.         making responsible choices.


                                                          www.wagv.org w wagv@wagv.org
        It is easier to purchase
        handgun ammunition
                             than a
                             can of
                             spray
                             paint.
in the time it takes to paint a room,
8 children will be killed by a gun.



                                                                                                       Nonprofit
                                                                                                      Postage Paid
                                                                                                     Sundance Press


The Activist Vol 14 No. 2
P.O. Box 1501
Culver City, CA 90232-1501
P: 310-204-2348
F: 310-204-6643
www.wagv.org




                     Preventing Gun Violence through Education, Advocacy & Community Mobilization.

								
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