A Teenager Steps Up to Save Lives
Like many teens, 15-year-old Stephan Abrams was devastated by the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Desperate to make a difference, and inspired by the national youth movement to end gun violence, he began educating classmates and community members about the issues.
Abrams found some adults who were doing great work and lifting up the powerful voices of his peers – Brady | United Against Gun Violence.
A storied national gun violence prevention organization with a strong California presence, Brady has been on the forefront of developing bipartisan educational and legislative solutions for our country’s gun violence epidemic for over 40 years. Among their more successful recent programs is the Combating Crime Guns Initiative, which seeks to stem the pipeline of illegal guns from a small group of rogue dealers, and Team ENOUGH, a youth-led project focused on educating and mobilizing young activists.
Now 18, Abrams is involved with both. To prove how easy it was to buy illegal guns, he went “undercover” at a Southern California gun show to buy one – at 17. And to help harness the power of youth change-makers, he led the San Diego chapter of Team ENOUGH, before being promoted to its national director, further developing chapters in California, Florida, and Virginia.
But is anyone listening?
“Last year we trained with the Brady policy team, and lobbied in Sacramento to successfully pass the microstamping bill,” Abrams says, referring to a law requiring gun manufacturers to honor their commitment to more carefully identify guns.
“Stephan, and all these young people, are doing something that most adults would be afraid to do – get up there, make a stand, and help carry a gun bill,” says Steve Lindley, a former police chief who runs Brady’s Southern California programs.
Young people see the same statistics their parents and grandparents do: that 106 people die from gun violence every day in this country; that there are more gun dealers than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined; that it is often easier to get a gun than a library card. They also understand that gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of color. For that reason, a majority of Team ENOUGH’s youth leaders are young people of color.
Team ENOUGH had just started to turn that awareness into focused collective action when COVID hit. Lindley was worried that they wouldn’t be able to continue their lobbying work. Undeterred, they moved their trainings and presentations online, expanding access to young activists who were unable to travel to Sacramento. Through their digital efforts, Lindley says, “these young folks are pioneering a new way of making a difference.”
Gun Violence Survivor & Vice President of Development: Liz Dunning
REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE 25% BY 2025. They say it can’t be done. But we can do anything. Even end the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. For we are more powerful than any problem when we work as one. Under Kris Brown’s leadership, Brady unites people of all identities, races, and ethnicities from coast to coast, young and old, progressive and conservative, and everything in between, fed up and fired up, to protect our country from what is killing it. It’s in our hands.
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Gun violence in our country is complex and can seem daunting. Brady takes a data driven approach which is smart, strategic and inclusive. They tackle all types of gun violence and lift up the voices of survivors, activists and those most impacted by suicide and everyday gun violence. I am proud to support Brady, it is an investment I make with assurance and conviction. Please join me and we can make our country safer for all of us.
Giving to End Gun Violence
With additional funding for Team ENOUGH, we will be able to expand the number of young people we engage with in our training program. More students like Stephan will gain the skills and access to elected officials to advocate for their right to live in communities free from gun violence.
To help illustrate the impact of your gift, $25,000 will allow us to organize a national Team ENOUGH two-day Summit for 75 students. $7,500 provides an advocacy training program for a cohort of 15 Team ENOUGH students.
California Wellness Foundation
Southern California Regional
Christy Callahan (Co-Chair)
Juano Queen (Co-Chair)
Ross Misher (Past Chair)
Joan Whitney Flagg
Paul Koplin & Jill Lawrence
Claire Rudnick Polstein
Skei & Jeremy Saulnier
Rose Ann & Ira Sharp
David & Diana Skaar