“I Have One Tough Mother.”

Andrea is a Wauwatosa mom who taught middle school for eight years in the Elmbrook School District. After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida she remembers having to go into school the next day. She wondered how to face her students. How could she tell them that they are safe in school? The kids had a lot of questions that next morning: What would we do if a shooter entered our school? Where would we go? Facing them was hard.

Andrea is an English and history teacher; she did not get into teaching to lead students in active shooter drills or to manage their fear in the wake of yet another school shooting. Andrea realized that posting on Facebook wasn’t changing anything. She googled to find something proactive to do. She found Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She was drawn to their mission that is not about taking guns away but about managing gun rights while improving gun safety. She also liked that she could focus on what to do for her specific community. She signed up for her first meeting which was held in Brookfield. She was heartened by the attendance of those from all walks of life: parents, seniors, professionals. Everyone was in shock after the Parkland shooting.

Moms Demand Action gives gun safety advocates direction. It provides concrete actions and a way to mobilize local communities. Andrea continued to volunteer in the Milwaukee chapter of Moms and, a couple years ago, formed a West Surburban Milwaukee group that encompasses Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Menomenee Falls, and anyone else for whom the meetings are convenient. The local group has worked to contact lawmakers, to provide free gun locks at Tosa Night Out, and to train parents in the Be SMART program which teaches about gun safety in the home. Kids in Wauwatosa and Brookfield are not immune to gun violence, and there are actions we can take to make them safer.

During Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day earlier this year in Madison, Andrea watched Robyn interact with Wauwatosa high school students. She witnessed Robyn listen to student voices and encourage them to keep moving forward with their passions. She also witnessed student reactions when Representative Vining showed up to Wauwatosa West High School’s walk out to protest gun violence. The students saw her presence and understood their voices matter to Robyn.

Last year Andrea’s daughter started junior Kindergarten. In only the first week, she was taught to hide in her cubby in case of an active shooter. Andrea hopes that through her volunteer work with Moms Demand Action and through the work of compassionate gun sense candidates like Robyn Vining, one day our students will no longer need to participate in such drills. – Andrea

*Moms Demand Action affiliation is for identification purposes only and not an indication of organizational support or endorsement.