Over the past month, mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo have refocused media coverage of gun violence, though the sheer volume of mass shootings means that many barely attract national attention. Over the past weekend alone, at least seven mass shootings occurred, resulting in 11 deaths and 54 injuries.
As leaders in the performing arts field, we have a responsibility for the safety of the people we gather: artists, audiences, stage crew, volunteers, and students and teachers in our school-based education programs. As story-tellers, we have the power to change narratives of violence that are deeply rooted in our country. Our elected officials need to hear our voices: their inaction is unacceptable, and they must enact policies like universal background checks, safe storage, red flag laws, and banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines. And like all movements that produce real change, it will also take protest, direct action, civil disobedience, getting out the vote, education, and, above all, uprooting the systems of violence upon which our country was founded.