California Charter Schools Association President and CEO Myrna Castrejón issued the following statement today, calling for immediate and courageous action to end gun violence in our communities.
Sacramento, CA – Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. Grieving communities across the country that have suffered unspeakable acts of violence and hatred in recent days. Keyla Salazar, Stephen Romero, Arturo Benavides, Elsa Libera Marquez, Monica Brickhouse, and Nicolas Cumer. These are just a few of the individuals who tragically lost their lives.
We can’t let the aftermath of these horrendous acts of violence follow an all-too-familiar pattern of shock, partisan blame, and inaction. Our ability to connect with each other and channel our frustration into action in the face of such madness is the only thing that will make innocent children and communities safe again. I spent a decade learning about purposeful action and what tight-knit communities can accomplish together while living in El Paso. During those formational years in my life, El Pasoans taught me how to live in truth and act courageously in support of all people. We need this fortitude now.
A critical first step is for the U.S. Senate to immediately take up and vote on the bipartisan background checks bill that was passed by the House in February. The bill establishes background check requirements for person-to-person gun sales and closes important loopholes. You can urge your U.S. Senators to support common sense gun laws here and here.
Action to confront this wave of mass shootings should be partnered with changing a toxic political culture that rewards extreme rhetoric and stokes bitter division. Our leaders should take this moment to use words that unite rather than divide and inspire us to work together to solve some of our biggest and most pressing challenges.
As a new school year begins, let us also commit to making each of our schools a haven for all; responsive to each child’s freedom to learn and dream, to find a safe place of belonging. Hatred breeds in silence; love thrives out loud.