Sacred Heart For Peace is a club I joined at the beginning of this year. When I was in sixth grade I began actively checking the news, and I was amazed by how many people die because of gun violence. I soon realized that the stories I read in the news covered only a small fraction of the gun deaths in our country. Approximately 33,000 people die in the U.S. every year because of gun violence. Shootings like Sandy Hook and many others really got to me. I can’t understand how anyone can read stories about these shootings and not think about them for a long time. By seventh grade I had the chance to become involved in the Sacred Heart For Peace club. The club’s purpose is to raise awareness about the serious problem of gun violence in the United States. In September, the club was known as the Gun Violence Prevention Club, but we officially changed our name to Sacred Heart For Peace (SH4P). I was ready to discuss the problem of gun violence with other students in my school who were also interested in making a change. Initially, the only members of the club were two eighth graders and me. We worked hard to recruit new members, and it was effective. Now, many more people come to the club every F-day. We meet during lunch and recess in Mrs. Bridges room and eat our lunches while we discuss gun violence and what we can do to raise awareness and effect change.
This year, we invited two guest speakers to join us. Mrs. Himes spoke directly to our club, and, you may recall, Ms. Mindich shared her work with the Caliber Collection of jewelry made from bullets casings with both the middle and upper schools.
Thanks to Ms. Mindich, we obtained a large supply of spent bullet casings that were collected at crime scenes. After much debate, we agreed to use these bullet casings to create an art installation to help spread awareness about gun violence in America. The map display shows gun deaths per 100,00 people in the U.S. per year. We chose to highlight the 20 worst states. We used different types of bullet casings to represent different numbers of people. Interestingly, we also discovered that the states with most gun deaths have the least restrictive gun laws. Proof that common sense gun laws do save lives!
Making the installation really was a great experience. Not only did we learn, but we raised awareness by sharing our display and information at a recent Middle School gathering.
Last Friday, the New York Times reported in a front page article that in one April week, four toddlers, ages two and three, shot and killed themselves with guns they found in their homes. In some cases, the gun-owners are facing criminal charges due to their negligence in safely securing their guns. In all cases, the family members are grief-stricken over the incomprehensible loss of a child. While this headline is shocking and terrible, it only represents a small piece of our nation’s gun violence problem. Remember, every year, more than 30,000 Americans die from gun violence in accidental deaths, homicides, and suicides.
Check out our “Gun Deaths” installation on the bulletin board across from the Hayes Commons Room!