A dedicated group of Texans, members of the Charter For Compassion, are working ceaselessly to stop gun violence — and offer hope for the future.
They’re members of the international Charter for Compassion, Texas Compassionate Cities:
Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Richardson, and San Antonio.
They’re working to prevent any more children dying in school shootings, and remembering the young ones and their teachers who died last week.
Working on the antidote
In the Aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas, Tragedy on May 24, one of their members, the Reverend Ann Helmke, Compassionate San Antonio, says:
“Part of systemic compassion is to map out a system and find one spot to apply the antidote as opposed to creating a full-fledged strategic plan to solve the entire problem.
The ripple effect
Compassion then moves by the ripple effect. And it infuses hope where no hope is felt or seen, or maybe no longer exists. I’ve had too many young people, too many adults, too many children tell me — “I’m done. I have no hope.”
Today I suggest we Go-Gandhi and Go-Nike. We begin where we wish to end, be the change we wish to see, and just do it!
My guess is that everyone reading this and sharing this would like to never ever again hear about or read about, or lastly see another school shooting in their lifetime or their children’s lifetimes or their grandchildren’s lifetimes.
Am I right?! Such insanity. Such an atrocity. Such needlessness. Such a loss. Such pain to endure let alone begin to ever heal.
Beginning where we want to end up
So, let’s begin there in that spot where we wish to end and that change is the one, we wish to see – not one more shooting in a school by a child and inflicted on other children and those who teach and care for their futures. Not one more. That is our endpoint.
How do we get there? Beginning today? How can we change things today? How do we begin?
We begin by clearing our minds and choosing sanity and intentionality, responsibility, and plain old common sense.
‘Check where the weapons are’
We begin by doing something so easy that we can each do it today. If you know someone who owns weapons, simply ask them with respect and compassionate concern for our children, to check where all of those are and to make sure those are secured so that no one can easily or accidentally find, take, and G-d forbid, use them.
Likewise, if you own weapons, please take some time today on behalf of all of us and all our future generations, and in respectful memory of the lives lost in Uvalde this week, survey and secure those, please. For G-d’s sake.
‘This plan is not political’
This plan of action is not political. It’s not anti-NRA or whatever. It’s sane. It’s smart. It stands on the side of life. On the side of today, and tomorrow.
If memory serves me well, around the time of the Million Mom March in 2000 there was a conversation held by the peaceCENTER here in San Antonio. It was an intentional and invitational conversation held between Family Members of Murdered Victims and local members of the NRA.
It was not only civil. It was a sane conversation. And there was one thing they all agreed on — children should not and never die as the children and their teachers died in Uvalde this past week. By a gun. In the hands of another child. Never.
We can all agree that timing is critical and of the essence to our mutual futures, as in today-not-tomorrow. Or better said today-and-all-tomorrows.
Those families and folks in Uvalde need to know and feel our compassionate love and sincere prayers and clear actions on their behalf. We all need that too! Here is San Antonio.
This is also Memorial Day weekend (last weekend) and there will be lots of celebrating happening which also heightens possibilities.
Let’s enjoy the weekend but let’s also agree to send our children back to school knowing that those possibilities are responsibly surveyed and safely secured from any harm to any child. Especially the one who might hold it. And their parents. G-d help us.
Let’s make this Memorial Day weekend in San Antonio and across Texas one for the memorable history books! Let’s double down on being human by being the best we can be by being the change we wish to see around the entire world.
‘Let it all start here‘
And hey, let’s do it as only San Antonio does it – let’s light up some hope in our homes, our streets, our neighborhoods. If you still have up your Christmas lights (and I know you do), light’em up! Turn on those porch lights.
Get a new bulb that speaks to your heart’s desire for our children and our city. Buy a box of them and share them with neighbors and friends as gifts to our shared future. I just bought a new one that burns golden with a heart-shaped filament inside.
I want everyone to see it and to think they are loved when they are, because they are, simply because they were born. Just like me.
And I’m going to keep that light burning all this weekend and into all the weeks ahead. For my children. For my neighborhood and community. For my San Antonio that I love. For Uvalde. For our future.
(The Rev. Ann Helmke is an ordained Lutheran minister and serves as the Faith Liaison for the City of San Antonio. She recently received an Honorary Doctorate in Pastoral Theology from Oblate School of Theology)