April 16, 2014   16 Nisan 5774
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Anti-Gun Violence Coalition
Jun. 30, 2006
Series of events about gun violence in advance of a local NRA convention.

Community Contact Information:
Temple Beth El
Charlotte, NC
www.beth-el.com


Goals:

  • Educate the community about issues of gun control.
  • Engage the Jewish and general community in peaceful assembly against gun violence.

Overview:
Only one week after the Million Mom March in Washington, D.C., Charlotte was host to the NRA convention. The timing of the march and the convention seemed to lend itself to raising the issue of gun violence.

Preparation:
The synagogue reached out to other local communities to create a coalition. This coalition included local anti-gun violence groups, faith communities, parenting groups, and other interested nonprofit organizations.

Project Implementation:
The Coalition put together a week’s worth of activities that began the day after the Million Mom March and ended the weekend of the NRA convention:

  • A Program entitled “God and Guns: What is the faith community’s response to an armed society?” opened the week.
  • Citywide art exhibit drew attention to the widespread use of guns and gun-related imagery as part of our culture.
  • Mock funeral by Mothers of Murdered Offspring remembered the names of the hundreds of gun-violence victims in North Carolina.
  • Peace march and prayer vigil was the culmination event, uniting the community groups. Two prominent speakers were present and there was a New York-based program that displays shoes that belonged to hundreds of the victims of gun violence.

Results:
Many members indicated that they felt proud of the synagogue’s stand on this issue and were especially impacted by the connection they made with those outside of the Jewish community. Congregants also appreciated the way the synagogue played a role in raising public awareness of gun violence. In fact, there was little other response to the NRA presence, and if the Coalition had not been organized, there would have been no conscientious voice on the issue of gun violence.

This program received a Fain award in 2001.

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