While COVID-19 has struck our community with obvious force, a less obvious epidemic has been ravaging our community for years: gun violence.

gun violence forum flyersIn an effort to address gun violence, the College of Charleston will present a series of online forums over the next week. The first event, Listen to our Stories, will take place on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, from 6 – 7 p.m. and features a panel of gun violence survivors from the community. On Thursday, March 25, from 6 – 7 p.m., the online forum Listen to Our Ideas for Change will feature community leaders, including representatives from the Charleston Police Department and Tri-County Gun Violence Coordinating Council, discussing solutions to gun violence. Finally, on March 31, the public is invited to join a discussion of the book Under the Gun, which explores the implications of gun violence on medical care.

The series of events are the effort of an ad hoc committee of the College’s Faculty Senate created to address gun violence. The Faculty Senate in February 2021 approved a resolution proposed by the committee to adopt a statement of commitment to curbing gun-violence. The Faculty Senate approved the resolution after a series of meetings with faculty from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where the MUSC Faculty Senate also passed a resolution committing to do what it can to curb gun-violence.

“The committee decided to organize a series of forums to hear from those who have already been working to address gun violence, sometimes due to their own experiences and tremendous losses,” says CofC philosophy professor and ad-hoc committee member Jennifer Baker. “So, working with organizations like My Community’s Keeper Mentor Group, which was created after the tragic loss of Amari Smalls to gun violence, we invited those we knew were leading efforts to reduce gun violence to discuss these in an online forum.”

under the gun discussion flyerAnd Under the Gun author and journalist Stu Durando will guide a discussion about the trends involving children and teens and gun violence.

“Journalist Stu Durando’s book, Under the Gun, is about a children’s hospital and features stories ranging from infants who accidentally shot their siblings to teenagers involved in gang violence in St. Louis, Missouri,” says Kathy Béres Rogers, English professor and director of Medical Humanities. “Our choice of book reinforces our collaboration with MUSC, namely the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, led by Dr. Ashley Hink.”

The events are free and open to the public. Please visit this link to register for the forums. Use this link to register for the book discussion. These events were planned prior to the tragic shooting on March 22 in Boulder, Colorado.