I’m honored to share this episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast, the second in a series I’m recording for the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative on the subject of gun safety and the intersectional impact of gun violence on our communities.
As the mother of two boys, I was interested in having a conversation with an expert on this subject who’s also a man and a father and I’m so grateful to have found one willing to go deep and be vulnerable in gun prevention advocate Ladd Everitt.
Ladd has been involved in this movement since 1993, when his life changed forever after a man boarded a rush hour train on the Long Island Railroad and opened fire with a handgun, killing six and wounding 19. This train was the one Ladd took regularly and he realized that it easily could have been him killed that day.
That moment sparked Ladd to attend the Million Mom March in 2000 in Washington DC, where despite the fact that he was a single man with no children, he found himself stepping into leadership for a local chapter and working alongside mothers for gun safety.
More than two decades later, he has become a father himself, and is still deeply committed to this work. After 10 years as a strategic communications and social media specialist with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Ladd took the position he holds today as Director of One Pulse for America, a gun violence prevention group established after the Florida Pulse Nightclub shooting by acclaimed actor/LGBTQ rights activist George Takei.
Ladd brought honesty and clarity to the conversation as we traced his E.P.I.C. life journey, from growing up as a young boy influenced by Marvel comics, to stepping into his own powers as a caring father and a decades long gun control advocate.
I appreciated Ladd’s humility as he expressed how the trauma of doing this work has impacted him, his own growing pains as he’s learning about and confronting racism and patriarchy, and the importance of giving the microphone and following the lead of young people, who he says are the emotional and cultural leaders of the movement today.
Ladd leaves us with hopefulness about the possibility for real change after the mid-term elections along with a challenge to hold our elected officials accountable, beginning with a specific request of Nancy Pelosi to focus on new and bold, not watered down, gun policy changes.
I was inspired by the example in Ladd of a white male leader, connected to his emotions, doing meaningful work, and looking for ways to share his privilege and influence with voices that should have more representation in the movement. Ladd and I both left the conversation feeling enriched by the opportunity to talk through complex issues. I’m excited to invite you in to listen with us and then move into action for gun safety alongside us.
P.S. Know someone who you think would appreciate this episode? Push forward and share this conversation!
Helgi dedicated this episode to all mothers affected by cycles of gun violence, who witness and deal with its aftermath for generations, especially the mothers affected by the terrorist attack in Pittsburgh, in the anti-Semitic hate crime shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday, October 27, 2018. They deserve our heartfelt, meaningful support in the wake of life altering gun violence.
Helgi is a lawyer and the founder of traumainformedlaw.org - an initiative to help justice professionals and communities reduce the impact of trauma and violence on public health. You can learn more about her work at the links below.
The tragic event that became a wake-up call and sparked Ladd’s passion for working toward gun safety.
Ladd’s first experience working toward gun control after the Million Mom March
How young people are the emotional and cultural leaders of the gun control movement now and Ladd’s fear that they may start listening to adults
The vicarious trauma and harassment that those on the frontlines of gun advocacy work experience
The exploration of toxic masculinity in the movie “The Mask You Live In” and why Ladd believes it’s crucial to teach boys that crying is a healthy way to express their emotions
The importance of fighting back against stigmatization of the mentally ill
Ladd’s experience being arrested, along with Michael Skolnik and other male activists, while protesting on behalf of women during the Kavanaugh hearings
The Universal Background Check and why is it important.
The book on Ladd’s desk when we conducted our interview that he’s reading to help him learn how to confront racism and white fragility
His Challenge for all of us to hold our newly elected officials accountable for bold gun policy
Writer Jena Schwartz’s daughter’s post about her experience with a school lockdown.
EP31: Brave Spaces and Solidarity with “Rad Women” Author Kate Schatz
For this week’s challenge, Ladd challenges us to focus on what he believes is the most important issue related to gun safety: to get serious about disarming violent people in our country.
Ladd asks us to follow through on his One Pulse America Action Alert: To Tell Presumptive Speaker Pelosi to Make Assault Weapons Ban a Priority
Follow the links below for more information:
And read Ladd’s recent OpEd in the LA Times on this subject
I want to let you know about a special end of the year campaign as part of the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative to raise money for the mothers, caretakers and activists on the frontlines of gun violence prevention. To make sure you get notified about the campaign, sign up for email updates at www.mothersquest.com and follow the Mother’s Quest page on Facebook. You can also reach out to me at email@example.com if you’d like to be one of the first to “seed” the fund with your contribution.
Tragically, I have now lost count of the number of mass shootings have taken place just in the time since the Women Podcasters in Solidarity selected "gun safety" as the issue we want to shine a light on this season.
Grateful to partner with Cristin Marie and Elsie Escobar on bringing this season of the Initiative to life. It is my deepest hope that through the power of podcasting, the episodes we will record, the conversations we will share with our listeners, and the dollars we will collectively raise toward gun safety causes, will save lives.
Please take a look at Cristin's post here and say "yes" to the Initiative yourself or help spread the word to reach other podcasters who would want to join.
If you’re on a quest to live an E.P.I.C. life, but you’ve been feeling challenged, isolated, or unsure of the path ahead, the Virtual Mother’s Quest Circle may be the source of connection you’re looking for.
The Mother’s Quest Circle provides inspiration, coaching and community for an intimate group of no more than 8 women who are ready to say “yes” to:
✨Reflect together, in a community of like-minded mothers, on what matters most
✨To consciously live their version (not someone else's) of an E.P.I.C. life
✨To take bold action toward one of the E.P.I.C. life guideposts before the end of the sessions
✨To hold space for sharing, coaching, and championing one another so we are “in community” on our journey
If you're looking to start the year strong, the Circle is a great way to make an investment in yourself and what matters most to you. Apply here to add your name to the wait list.
A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Sage B. Hobbs
Titilayo Tinubu Ali
Carly Magnus Hurt
Mara Berns Langer
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast
If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.
If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).
Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/