New York City Mission Society Statement About Thousand Oaks, CA, Shooting
(New York, N.Y.) – New York City Mission Society President Elsie McCabe Thompson issued the following statement about the shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA, that ended in the deaths of 12 people:
The violence that continues to plague our country must end. I am profoundly upset, and frankly, outraged to watch yet another traumatic incident steal beautiful lives. Many of the victims Wednesday night were just stepping into their futures—including young adults ages 18, 20, 21, 22, and 23. Our young people deserve to grow up with both emotional and physical safety. At the Mission Society, especially as we design the curriculum for an upcoming elementary charter school, we often say that adults must plan for the needs of the “whole child”. To that end, we implore our readers to understand that as long as our youth must worry about daily threats to their physical safety, our youth cannot confidently explore their dreams and potential. Fear and anxiety are established barriers to learning.
Our nation was founded on the promise of freedom. To fulfill that promise, we must ensure that our youth are safe in our public spaces, in our schools, in our parks, in our playgrounds—and wherever people gather to build community. But sadly, the new normal in our country has become an expectation—and a tolerance—for daily, senseless violence. This violence is not who we are as Americans. And continuing to tolerate this violence is not humane. No matter where we live, what communities we belong to, or how we identify politically, we must come together as a nation and put our differences aside so that we may create real solutions.
Our youth are worth far more than our thoughts and prayers. Our youth are worth a country that takes every precaution to keep them alive into adulthood. They need our legislators—locally, statewide, and nationally—to translate the anger and frustration that we feel after these incidents into decisive action. All caring Americans can agree that common sense reform is needed. We need a likely combination of stricter gun control, greater access to affordable mental health resources, and public security measures that do not threaten the safety of people of color or anyone who looks or acts differently.
We do not need to live in Thousand Oaks, Pittsburgh, Parkland, Newtown, or any of the nearly countless other communities plagued by mass shootings to feel that enough is enough. The young people who were instantly robbed of their futures—and so many others these days—are our brothers and sisters, our parents and children, our neighbors and friends, and our coworkers.
And so, we are now compelled to talk frankly to all those around us, especially our children. Until new reforms are put in place, our children must be aware of the dangers facing them—not to instill fear, but so that they know who to turn to for support or with questions, particularly during uncertain times. A child cannot learn without a sense of security. However, children will thrive when we support the physical, social, and emotional needs of youth equally. The Mission Society has seen this comprehensive approach to youth development succeed since 1812.
The Mission Society family and I are not the only ones whose hearts cry out in pain. Today, we stand in solidarity and support with the Thousand Oaks community. My hope is that one day very soon, neighbors across the country will join hands, bravely reach for new policy solutions, and push forward through the darkness of partisanship and together step into the daylight of peace.
Our young people are counting on us to take a stand.
Elsie McCabe Thompson is the President of the New York City Mission Society.
About the New York City Mission Society
The New York City Mission Society has been on the frontlines of the war on poverty for more than 200 years. Today, our progressive portfolio of educational, workforce development, cultural enrichment, and community-building programs, make a positive, long-term impact on the City’s most underserved communities by promoting academic achievement, and providing career opportunities and cultural enrichment. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 children and families throughout New York City with our programs, supportive services, and community events. Learn more at http://www.nycmissionsociety.org.