Our response to the incident in Uvalde, TX



A Memorandum

FROM THE GUNNISON PROJECT

FOR DELAYED RELEASE

MAY 26, 2022 - OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Yesterday, May 25, 2022, the most deadly school shooting since the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School rattled the city of Uvalde, TX. This has moved the American people into an immensely powerful stage of grief.


Here in Gunnison, we’ve yet to be affected by such a harrowing and unfortunate loss of life. It’s hard to understand an event like this that hasn’t affected most of us.


Regardless, it is important that we stay mindful of situations like these, that are occurring more and more often, and that we prepare for the unfortunate possibility that one day Gunnison might suffer such a fate.


Back in February, a situation had developed in Montrose, CO, involving a student and a firearm. Although no harm came of the incident, it was a situation that could have led to a dark and sorrowful streak in western Colorado’s history book.


It is clear that mental health is a paramount part of these incidents. To ignore the mental health crisis is to doom ourselves to a horrible fate.


The strongest of Gunnison’s prevention efforts must begin in the schools. We must address the hardships of inequity - inspiring acceptance of our LGBT+ community, beginning to break the glass ceilings that exist for people of color, and ending the decades of gender discrimination that continue to plague the halls. Additionally, we must enter the twenty-first century and put our foot down when we see students harassed or targeted, by both staff and other students, especially in ways that are racial or sexual. We must stand with our whole school population, even in times where a very vocal minority demands that we don’t.


This letter is directed to our school administration, yet it is for anyone who will listen. We close with a simple message: we must legitimize the existence of the mental health crisis. Our community must fully agree that we are struggling and that we must begin action now.


We must look to the future with hope, with an unshakable belief that we can write a safe and more prosperous destiny for ourselves.


We must be thorough when we make decisions that affect others.


We must listen to each other, regardless of our viewpoint.


We must pursue the future with an open mind and an open heart.


No amount of pompous proclamations, dazzling newspaper articles, or million dollar bills can truly make our schools safer. It’ll take action for that, and for our sakes, we had better get on it.