Statement on recent mass shootings and asylum policies

Like many across the U.S., we are devastated by the news of yet another mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Just 10 days after the shootings in a Buffalo, New York grocery store, church in Laguna Woods, California, and at the two year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, we remain committed to a more abundant, safe, and welcoming society. We know this violence is not simply “senseless,” but is designed to deter us in realizing a more just world — and we will not be deterred.

Rachel Perić, executive director of Welcoming America, says, “We are all grieving deeply for the families in Uvalde. We all extend our care to one another, and we know that care doesn’t end at our families, or our communities, but is something we all seek for every person. In these moments when the world feels very broken, we’re reminded that our strongest movements for change and survival have come from just such a thing. Let’s continue to work to ensure our country can put into practice the welcoming values we need so that everyone can belong, thrive, and prosper.”

Safe communities are welcoming communities. When all of us can safely worship, go shopping, or attend school without fear, everyone benefits. From the Columbine High School shooting 23 years ago to recent hate crimes and mass shootings in New York City, Dallas, Atlanta, and beyond, it is clear that more needs to be done to protect our children, families, and community well-being.

If unacknowledged or unresolved, the violence and harm of our past will continue to feed our fears and desire to find power in domination, rather than cooperation, as well as prevent us from finding safety in erecting walls and arming ourselves, rather than in building community with our neighbors.

Nowhere is this competing vision more evident than in our nation’s border policy, and in the distraction politics being employed by those on the right who are using a timeworn tactic of scapegoating immigrants for the public health and economic challenges that lay squarely in their laps. The upholding of Title 42, preventing asylum seekers at the Southern border from exercising their right to seek refuge, and the axing of a new asylum rule designed to make processing of asylees more efficient, is petty cruelty, not sound policy.

Underneath all of these actions (or lack thereof) is a fear of the other and a scarcity mindset that forces a false “us vs. them” mentality. A successful, multiracial democracy doesn’t rely on such a binary; ultimately, all of us suffer from these tragedies, from parents worried about their children in schools, to families wondering if they’ll ever reunite with their loved ones.

Now is the time to remind our communities that safety is rooted in coming together across race and national origin to demonstrate that democracy is the way forward.

Resources for gun violence solutions:

Resources on asylum seekers: