The following is an open letter from John Nave, Executive Vice President of Kansas AFL-CIO.
On Tuesday, our nation witnessed another mass school shooting. Working families sent their children to school, not knowing it would be the last time they kissed their cheeks or hugged them. Teachers who unconditionally committed their lives and love to students and profession, not knowing this would be their last day to teach.
I don’t know a single person in this country – who has not been affected – by the senseless act of extreme violence against innocent children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
It is beyond my imagination that an 18-year-old, on his birthday, had the ability to purchase weapons, ammunition, and then react to his world this way. It appears that he hated life, himself, and took his anger out on his community and innocent people and innocent children of his community, which didn’t deserve it.
Uvalde is a community made up of working families, much like the communities across Kansas and our nation. These communities are working to create the American dream. Sadly, these families now endure unimaginable pain that will never go away.
Many will look to their elected officials for answers. All will ask questions: Are the laws and regulations on the books being followed? Are they strict enough! Are they appropriate for their State, City, and community? Now is not the time to point fingers,
Now is the time to learn and understand all aspects of this tragedy. Then work together to ensure it never happens again. That it can not happen again.
As a labor leader, I have witnessed sad days, yet, nothing in my memory can compare to the pain my family recently experienced. Last month, my granddaughter graduated from the Marine corps and, while home, became an innocent victim of a drive-by shooting. Gratefully and by God’s grace, she survived and lives with the impeded bullet as she continues to serve our country. While I can not honestly know what the families in Ulvade are going through, I understand it.
Today, as I share my thoughts and sadness, I speak for the Kansas AFL-CIO and our close-knit members as we mourn and offer our prayers to the Uvalde community and other communities who have also experienced senseless violence.
We the People must, as a whole, accept the responsibility to address hate, bigotry, racism, and discrimination in all forms. It is time to use our voices to eradicate and prevent this from happening ever again.
We, the People, can look at what we can do to prevent this. We, the PEOPLE have the opportunity to be part of the solution! We, the People have to work together to protect our communities. We, the People need to do whatever is necessary to stand up and make sure our laws and regulations are more effective, so our communities can prevent this type of tragedy.
The clock is ticking for the people of Texas and our nation. The time is now to call upon our officials and our citizens to set aside politics and work together to come to the proper solution, no matter what that may be!
We, the people must and can do this! We, the people must and can do better!
John Nave, Executive Vice President, Kansas AFL-CIO