A Word from Pastor Jenny: Connecting with Our Legislators Following Recent Gun Violence
“For if you keep silent at such a time as this…Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” –Esther 4:14
The book of Esther in the Old Testament is a wonderful story of the strength, bravery and dignity of Queen Esther to go directly to the King with her requests, which ended up saving the lives of her Jewish people. Esther did not keep silent.
As we continue to grieve the loss of more innocent lives to gun violence in recent weeks and in the wake of the elementary school shooting last week in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children and two of their teachers dead, many others injured and waves of others traumatized, now is our time as people of faith to put action with our prayers.
As people of faith, we are people of prayer. Prayer is always where we need to start because prayer will lead us in a better direction and to a better day. Prayer leads to influencing our words and our actions. Prayer will also lead us to do the good that is ours to do.
None of us have all the answers and the problem of violence is complex. But with the statistics showing that there have been 27 school shootings and over 200 mass shootings that included four or more victims in the United States since January 1, 2022, such a time as this has come.
One thing I have never done, but am going to do now, is write my legislators at the state and federal level to encourage their efforts to work together with all elected officials to pass common sense gun safety laws that will protect all of us and lessen the chances of more school shootings and other acts of gun violence. Actions like letter writing and calls to our legislatures will become even more important as the weeks and months go on and tragedies like the school shooting in Uvalde or the grocery store shooting in Buffalo, NY start to fade from the news and social media feeds.
I have included sample letters that could be used or modified to fit your style and views and sent to our state and federal legislators. A handy website that gives complete contact information for letter writing, emails or phone calls to state and federal legislators is at http://openstates.org. Our federal legislators for Wisconsin are Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin in the U.S. Senate and Mark Pocan in the U.S. House. State legislators are different by district. Our state legislators for the Sun Prairie area are Gary Hebl and Melissa Agard.
When sending letters or emails, remember to address it to your representatives by name and sign your name and put your address at the end before sending. In this age of electronic communication, never underestimate the power of a handwritten letter to your elected officials (if your handwriting is legible). Also, if you have a personal story to share about how gun violence has affected you or your family, there is power in sharing our stories and people, including our elected officials, respond to stories.
Thank you for considering acting on our prayers and writing to our legislators. It is a way of living out our faith and our baptism vows, which say that we will use the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.