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Alicia Gurrieri is an Organizer for the League of Women Voters national office where she provides strategic oversight for grassroots organizing to Leagues across the country. After graduating in 2013 with a dual BA in Psychology and Gender & Sexuality Studies, Alicia started her career in Camden, New Jersey for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance as a Health Educator. There, she enrolled individuals in Medicaid, conducted street-based outreach, and provided direct-service risk-reduction counseling for people living with HIV. Alicia came to the League after spending nearly three years at the National Women’s Law Center where she worked first as the Program Assistant for the Reproductive Rights and Health Team and then as Development Analyst. In August 2018, she earned her master’s degree in Political Management at George Washington University.
Senior Associate, Development + Programs
Erica Sims has worked in the non–profit management, affordable housing development, and community organizing fields for over 17 years. Her focus has been on social and economic justice through housing and economic development. Ms. Sims has held private sector, nonprofit and government roles and has overseen the development of over 2,500 units of affordable housing and 50,000 square feet of commercial development space in new construction and renovation projects.
Prior to joining HDAdvisors in 2017, she acted as Deputy Executive Director of Mutual Housing Association of New York, a non–profit affordable housing developer, owner and manager with a portfolio over 1,500 units of affordable housing. She received a Bachelor‘s in Economics and a Bachelor‘s in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology.
Statement by Carol Noggle at VSCC Hearing:
Re: Goals of the Virginia Crime Commission and objectives for legislation
Mr. Chairman and Members,
You have been given a mandate to establish urgent and vigorous action to prevent the deaths, the violent deaths, of Virginians by guns.
Accept this mantle of leadership and responsibility to take necessary steps to prevent violence and provide security. It will take energy and perseverance and compromise — maybe even daring action and new approaches.
Please proceed with unity against this violence and the fear of violence.
Fear – in our schools, at work, in churches, on the street, in neighborhoods, in homes –now prevails without effective changes for safety.
Partisanship and “drawing lines in the sand” are a waste of energy that can block the energy needed for finding solutions.
Former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his State of the Union speech in 1941 that there are four essential Freedoms:
Freedom …of speech and expression
Freedom… of worshipping in our own way
Freedom… from want…. And…
Freedom from Fear.
But I do not mean to focus on fear but on hope and on confidence in your leadership, your problem-solving skills, and your dedication that will yield solutions that are best for Virginians.
Resources: These sources of studies and data for decision-making by the Commission are offered as you proceed to make recommendations for legislation.
Stanford University School of Medicine News:
New England Journal of Medicine:
Statistics from CDC
Morgan Johns’ testimony before the Virginia State Crime Commission hearings on proposed Gun Safety Legislation. Here is her statement:
My name is Morgan Johns and I appreciate the opportunity to speak today.
Young people are always looking down at their phones, aren’t they? Scrolling through selfies, sunsets – shooting, shooting, #Gilroystrong, #Daytonstrong, #ElPasostrong, 34 dead, 64 wounded in one week – we are algorithmically predisposed to look down because we are terrified to look up.
I once missed days of school because two students were planning to open fire during an evacuation they’d instigate. They’re still in jail. Earlier this year, I was standing across the wall from shots fired in student housing. A couple of weeks ago, I was threatened to be “shot in the face” on the street.
By keeping military-grade weapons easily accessible, you are drafting people like me onto the front lines. It should go without saying that more gun usage means more potential for gun violence. That is kindergarten logic – and if you think that comparison is inappropriate, remember that they are currently being told to lay still and act dead in active shooter drills. That is how you are raising the next generation.
In response to the opposition –
If you claim self-defense as a motive, I would ask – from whom are you actually defending yourself? Chances are, it is an irrational, hate-based fear. Of course your individual life is important, but to protect it against a pretense at the expense of hundreds dying weekly is shameful.
Speaker Cox’s original recommendation for Governor Northam to respond to Virginia Beach through our same protocols as Parkland and, more notably, Virginia Tech, is incredibly ignorant to the exponential frequency and normalization since them. Not to mention that those supposed protocols failed to prevent the 11,000 deaths occurring as a result.
Today, the opposition itself has stated that universal background checks, magazine limits, and mental illness checks would not have prevented any mass shootings from VT forward – thus, inherently arguing that the only prevention could have been a lack of gun access. As someone said, sober drivers are not to blame for drunk driving accidents – but alcohol is.
I have witnessed many such as this, where leaders did just that – hearing – not necessarily listening. Remember that the line separating the two is only ever as wide as the thread used to stitch up a bullet wound.
President Deb Wake represented the League of Women Voters® of Virginia during the public comments session of the Virginia State Crime Commission hearings on proposed Gun Safety Legislation.
Here is her statement:
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization formed nearly 100 years ago out of the Suffragist Movement. After women won the right to vote, it was important to educate the new voters through the study of issues and the formation of positions through consensus. These positions also serve as the basis for advocacy. Our positions on gun safety can be found on the national website: https://www.lwv.org/impact-issues. “From its inception, the League …worked for equal rights and social reforms. In the early years, the League was one of the first organizations to address such issues as child welfare, maternal and child health programs, child labor protections, and laws that discriminated against women….In the 1990s, concern for violence prevention spurred a new League position and brought strong support for commonsense measures to control gun violence. The League supported the Brady bill and sought to close loopholes that undermine consumer safety.”
The League of Women Voters does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Instead, we focus on issues and policies. Many of these issues, like gun violence prevention, have become hot-button topics. It is important when emotions run high on both sides of sensitive issues, to look for common ground and solutions found effective by the overwhelming body of rigorous research.
This year we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of Representative Democracy. We cherish and embrace a form of government that places power in the hands of the people–people who elect their peers to represent them and to make laws for the common good. We have a public safety health crisis and it is imperative that lawmakers work together for a solution.
Yesterday was spent listening to expert testimony and viewing data relating to gun violence. While it is important to make informed decisions, if we truly care about governance and public safety, there comes a time when lawmakers must make hard choices and pass laws for the benefit of their constituents and for Virginia as a whole. We have not seen legislative solutions in the wake of mass shootings in the 12 years since Virginia Tech or in the two months since Virginia Beach. It breaks my heart that we are teaching 5-year-olds– 5-year-old children– duck and cover drills because we refuse to pass laws to keep them safe. Our representative democracy is failing our children and all those who have been victims of gun violence or are fearful of becoming victims because we have no laws to protect them.
The problem is not gangs. The problem is troubled people with easy access to guns. The League of Women Voters of Virginia has reviewed the studies. We urge you to support universal background checks with a waiting period, to make sure that those who should not have guns are not able to easily access them. We urge you to support red flag laws to protect those who would harm themselves or the people close to them. We urge you to strengthen permanent protective orders and to provide access to emergency protective orders disarming domestic abusers. We urge you to adopt stronger child access prevention laws. Researchers in Virginia and throughout America have found that these are effective solutions for preventing suicides and homicides.
A recent Wason Center poll found that the vast majority of Virginians want true, effective action. (https://cnu.edu/wasoncenter/surveys/2019-07-03-gun-issues-survey/) States with stronger gun laws see fewer children dying of gunshots. Gun availability is a risk factor for homicide and for suicide. The facts are clear. As a nonpartisan organization of thousands of Virginians, we urge you to stop delaying and to take action now.
Deb Wake (she/her)
#SheIsMeLWV proves that when we work together, we get things done. Support the amazing women fighting to preserve voting rights through redistricting reform, voter education, and public outreach! https://lwv-va.org/donate/
Nearly two dozen Ohio groups and individuals, including @lwvohio, are asking the state’s top elections official for a list of voters who could be dropped from the rolls this fall, so they can try to get them re-registered. Read the story: https://t.co/OgQiKqRyZG
— LWV of the US (@LWV) August 4, 2019
Transparency Virginia’s 2019 annual report on legislative transparency. From Transparency Virginia https://t.co/q5yLMWDmcX
— LWV of Virginia (@LWVVA) July 30, 2019
People of color are at an especially high risk of going uncounted in an underfunded #2020Census — which would deprive countless Americans of resources and political representation. We can’t let that happen. https://t.co/46yFl2YyaO
— LWV of the US (@LWV) July 24, 2019
4 ways to integrate youth to conflict prevention policies:
1⃣Listen to young ppl & involve them
2⃣ Equip youth w/ resources
3⃣ Establish youth network & focal points
4⃣ Include youth in political decision-making
— UN Youth Envoy (@UNYouthEnvoy) July 19, 2019