Fight Like a Mother


<music> hey guys i'm elise lunen the chief content officer here goop. Today's guest is shannon watts. You may have ever heard of her. She is amazing and she's the first gas to kick off a special eight episode series that were hosting in partnership with banana republic called women on top which i'm excited sighted to tell you more about <hes> some of the most interesting businesses or maybe all of the most interesting businesses mrs were born out of curiosity desire to explore gas questions and share answers. This is the space that went was in when she started goop. It's also the space as from banana. Republic was founded back in nineteen seventy eight when to california creative with adventurous spirits up cycling military surplus clothing and the rest. I was history when we talked to the team at banana republic about partnering up on a special podcast series their vision revolved around the idea of living a life no boundaries. This is the inspiration behind their clothing. Today it drives how they source premium materials from around the world the ways they choose to innovate with their designs and how they think about him using using style with substance this is all in display in their fall collection which combines iconic banana republic style with a modern twist to see it all and to shop an an republic collection had two banana republic dot com. Don't hold anything too tightly. Just wish for it why it let it come from the intention of real truth for you and then let it go now. The mayor soul is like it's unbound. It's limitless but we will use words to limit ourselves when people stop stop believing that somebody's got your back or super men's coming. We turn to ourselves and that's where you become empowered. Courageous participation asian attracts positive things. I'm gonna paltrow. This is the goop podcast bringing together thought leaders culture changers chirs creatives founders and ceos scientists doctors healers and seekers here to start conversations because simply asking questions and and listening has the power to change the way we see the world. Today is no exception. I'll let elise fill you in on her extraordinary. Guest all right over to elise shannon watts is the founder of moms demand action and the author of fight like a mother. She's also a mom of five. She admits she never i thought it would be so involved in politics policy change but after the sandy hook shooting. She said she couldn't just sit. She had to take action today. Moms demand action is one of the largest grassroots movements in the country focused entirely on preventing gun violence. Shannon is confident that this issue will be fixed and we've made a ton in a progress she gives us a lot of reason to be hopeful and to not give up ever and so you need to learn how to take failure as feedback and and even if you lose one battle a very long war you can learn in win the next one and we have done that over and over again in our organization shannon shares her own vision for how she thinks things things will change in the upcoming election cycles and she explains how together we can turn those hopes into reality above all. I think shannon reminds us our voices matter after one note before i turn it over to her. We spoke earlier this summer. When shannon was in town so this conversation was recorded prior to the heartbreaking shootings and murderers and dayton el paso also south haven in gilroy. Everything shannon says remains relevant arguably more important than ever stick around to the end to learn about ways. We can all help now. Let's get into my conversation shannon watts. Thank you for being here. I always feel a little guilty guilty about asking activists to take time out to talk to us just because i now valuable your time is i appreciate that but honestly it's so important to talk about the work. We're doing in the fact that that were winning getting that message out alone that we are winning when so many people think this issue or or other issues can be hopeless. Reminding people of all the progress. We've made is such an important part of what i do yeah now. I loved that just so everyone knows your book came out in may and it's great not only for what it lis- out in terms of the progress we've made on gun sons and gun safety but this idea to that anyone can not only join a movement but start a movement. I approve of that. <hes> you know i certainly never imagined that i would be politically active or that. I would be an organizer organizer that i would be the tip of the spear on such a volatile issue but here we are. I know so. Can you take us back to your kitchen right. After sandy hook with thirty two twitter followers. I didn't even have one. I had a twitter handle that was inactive but i had seventy five facebook friends and i was folding laundry. You know which is sort of a fulltime job from five <hes> i had been a stay at home mom for five years after leaving a career in corporate communications and i saw the new starting to come in that there had been a tragic shooting in newtown connecticut at an elementary school in no one knew at that time really how bad it was and and i can remember just sort of saying to the universe. Please don't let this be as bad as it seems. Now we all know it was a million times worse than really even today that we can fathom that twenty children and six educators would be slaughtered in the sanctity of an elementary school and just like you and everyone else in america. I was absolutely absolutely devastated that this was happening but then i became really angry i saw pundits and politicians come on television and say will the solution is more guns or it's arming teachers and i didn't know anything about gun violence. I didn't know anything about gun laws but i knew our nation was broken. I knew that was not at the answer and so i thought i'm gonna look online and join something like mothers against drunk driving. I'm going to get off the sidelines and get involved and i searched for probably almost in our and i couldn't find anything at all out there. I found some think-tanks in washington d._c. Mostly run by men. I found some state or city organizations again again mostly run by men. I wanted to be part of a bad us army of women that was like mothers against drunk driving which was so pivotal for me in so many in the eighty snuggling up yeah it was this idea of going from everybody's parents kind of had a few drinks and then drove to they were pariahs really socially if they did that and so i knew that the power of women and specially moms when they got together and and i also felt that moms were the union to the gun lobby zhang that the lobby had made this very vocal minority afraid that their guns we were going to be taken away but that eighty million moms regardless of the political party who were afraid their children would be taken away would win the day but again all of that. I didn't know when i started this facebook page which <hes> i didn't have a focus group in my kitchen so i called it one million moms for gun control soon after my daughter who's gay told me that one million moms was a group trying to get ellen. Ellen degeneres not to be the j._c. Penney spokeswoman which is bad and then i got a call from a congresswoman who said we don't use the word gun control like that's verboten <music> phrase in d._c. Which i didn't know when i was in indiana and so we changed our name pretty immediately but the power of social media in those first few hours days as weeks that caught fire with so many women and moms across the country and and men too who said it was time for them to get off the sidelines totally. I loved that passage in the book. I don't remember exactly who was saying but it was another concern mom and she i think had been agitating are having the same feelings as you and as it would turn out almost every mom in america and she was asking herself who will lead and i thought that was such a poignant but small point in the book doc of you saying. I guess i'm going to lead which so many of us i think it's that it's like when the crowd gathers a no one takes action because there's always this expectation that someone else will step forward but seems like it needs to be an unconscious choice where to really happen. I i would agree with that. You know if i knew in retrospect what this would turn into or or how my life would change you know you would have trepidation to again be the face of of something that will immediately started receiving threats of death threats of sexual violence to me into my kids but i'm so incredibly grateful and honor to do this work work every single day. I'm a full time volunteer and we are run mostly by volunteers on the ground and all of them finding ways to carve carve out time from their busy schedules whether they are working moms or stay at home moms <hes> many treat this like a job and they take incredibly seriously and we've created needed this culture that empowers and emboldens particularly women to get off the sidelines and to use their voices and their votes and the power levers that are available to them right. We're only twenty percent of state. Lawmakers were only twenty. Five percent of federal lawmakers were only five percent fortune one thousand ceo's but but we make the vast majority of spending decisions were the majority of the voting electorate and that's why so many lawmakers want our volunteer standing with them and the red shirts because because they know our voices matter ramp and i know you through this movement as more and more of these moms have come into contact with their local governance right. They are all asking the same question which i think i've always felt since i was a child like why this person like why is this the person creating legislation and why is this person my representative. They don't seem to read any of the legislation. They don't even seem to know what they're voting for their. They're centrally voted along party lines or out of fear and so i love this idea that all these moms demand action volunteers are now also running warning that somehow you know you talk about this in the book but men seem to have no qualms about raising their hands regardless of qualifications indications whereas women feel like we need to be eaten credibly overqualified to do even the most menial tasks so i think i'm just exposing all these women to how government functions is in of itself of service despite we've already done for it's so interesting i never spent time certainly in my state house and now so many of us spend our sitting in gun bill hearings or showing up at rallies or having meetings things with our lawmakers and what you realize is they are not rocket scientists. There are many of them. I wouldn't trust to get me a cup of coffee. Let alone make the laws to protect my family and my community and we had one volunteer north carolina. Who said you know i. I really thought that when i went to my state house they wanted to hear from me. They wanted to hear what i had to say that my input mattered. She's now a state lawmaker north carolina by the way but we had forty of our volunteers run in two thousand eighteen of the forty seventeen one everything from city council the congress a former moms demand action volunteer lucy macbeth whose son jordan davis was shot and killed in florida a black teen. He was shot and killed by a white man who said his music was too loud. Lucy became a volunteer with our organization soon. After and now she's congresswoman from georgia so we know ooh that when women go to the polls they vote on this issue and we know that when they win office when they're elected office they legislate on this issue and that's why it's so incredibly important to turbocharged charger efforts by not just the advocacy we do but actually turning our volunteers gun violence survivors into lawmakers and it doesn't matter if it's school board or city council or congress all of it matters totally so let's talk about small local government 'cause i know you guys have had an incredible amount of success and and i would imagine except for potentially some incredibly red states i mean ninety percent of voters want commonsense gun laws cracks the vast majority of americans so about ninety percent of americans support stronger gun laws eighty percent of gun owners seventy four percent of n._r._a. Members this is is really about an extreme radicalized leadership of the n._r._a. It's not about their members so this is not a polarizing issue among the general public it is in and can be among lawmakers and that's why our work is so important when we go into state houses we do two things one is that we play offense. We've pass background checks now. In twenty one states we've passed red flag laws in seventeen. We've disarmed. Domestic abusers in twenty eight states all of those laws proven by data and research to save lives. If you look just at twenty eighteen alone we stronger gun laws in twenty states nine of which were signed by republican lawmakers so they're working across the aisle better than than congress does but there's also another piece of this which is to play defense. We never realized we would spend so much time. In state. House is is beating back bad and our bills like arming teachers or putting guns on college campuses. <hes> stand your ground laws. Something called permanence. Kerry where you can carry a hidden loaded handgun a public with no training background check so these are bills that show up over and over again and we have about a ninety percent track record of of killing those bills last year alone. We beat back over a thousand bills. So that's another big part of this work and can you explain what red flag can you go into the domestic violence what was previously allowed by law in terms of domestic abusers ability to keep their guns and sort of how that because you make the point throughout the book clearly things like sandy hook these national tragedies arrest all and stop us all but most gun violence is in the home. It's primarily perpetrated against people of color and it's primarily perpetrated against women right women black teens so so when you when you look at gun violence in this country it's twofold and it's not just the mass shootings in school shootings which is what brought me into this work but it's the daily gun violence. It's the gun gun homicide in city centres. It's gun suicides in rural communities and there's research data that shows that there are solutions to all of it and so when we work on for example domestic violence laws the federal definition of a prohibited purchaser convicted domestic abuser does not include stalkers stalkers or dating partners and we knew that about fifty percent of all the women who were killed by intimate partners with guns in this country are dating partners now because they are waiting longer to get married so so we have to go into the states broaden the definition of a domestic abusers and then we have to put teeth in the laws that allow law enforcement to remove the guns a domestic abuser already owns that could be fixed for example right now in the violence against women act. There is a new piece of that that would close what we call the boyfriend loophole poll but in the interim. We're going state by state to do this work. A red flag law is essentially a temporary restraining order that a family member burger or a police officer typically can get a judge to put into effect that temporary removes the guns of someone who seems to be a danger to themselves or others. We started working on this back after the u._c._s._b. Shooting when the parents of the shooter said we told police our son was armed and he was dangerous and we knew that he was going to do something whether it was to himself or others but there was nothing police could do and so california was one of the first states that we worked on passing this bill and on just this year <hes> we passed them in nevada and hawaii so these are again bills that are overwhelmingly supported by republican governors and there's something that american support art but the problem is for too long the gun lobby has been writing our gun laws and they do not support these laws read one of the most ingenious parts of the book is the starbucks example simple to and because i had no idea and you know i'm from montana i obviously a gun state lots and lots of hunters people who provide for their families families by hunting and i was home a couple summers ago with my family and went to the farmer's market and missoula's very liberal and so there was like a whole pride pride a pride march and i was like oh we should move back here. This is so great and and then i saw a young family and the guy turned and and he had a weapon a gun and i was i'd actually never seen that i'd seen gun racks and windows of trucks express never seen an armed pedestrian like that which freaked me out and then i realized that it's not only it's totally legal in many states and it's also many are sorry many businesses allow it and so can you take through the starbucks example yeah so open carry is carrying a semiautomatic rifle or handgun open on your person and it's legal in forty five states in this country. I see it all the time where i live in colorado and it's up to restaurants and retailers and other companies to decide whether they'll allow it in states where it's legal and about six months. After i started moms connection i was watching the news and saw that starbucks was no longer going to allow smoking including electronic cigarettes twenty feet outside at stores regardless of state state law and we had seen open carry inside their stores happening and so i called them and said you know you still going to allow us and they said we're going to keep following local laws pertains to guns and we decided we were much more afraid of secondhand bullets than second hand smoke so we embarked on what we call a mom kat and we were so small we're only six months old and we only do skip start starbucks saturdays. We do not have the power to to actually do a fallen economic boycott and even then the soccer. Moms gave me a hard time time about no starbucks on saturdays we did it and we showed using the hashtag skipped starbucks saturdays we showed images of what open carry looked like inside starbucks because when we did this gun extremists pushed back and they just started showing up at so many starbucks opened carrying and within three months we were able to get the c._e._o. Of starbucks howard schultz to come out on television and say in fact he said guns were no longer. Welcome either stores not just opened kerry and we realized realized that this was a way that we could win that we did have a lot of power and we've replicated a dozens of restaurants and retailers. What's interesting is now companies. Don't have to be dragged kicking and screaming into this issue anymore. We're having so many companies come to us and not just for advice on their policies but to join our coalition volition companies like toms shoes dick sporting goods and levi's and that is a a real sea change yeah. No i think so much of this is driven. Out of people bolt just not being aware of the law. You know i was shocked. If i had seen guy with an open carried gun walking through santa monica i would have called the police. I would've called a vote neighborhood schools. It's such an insane concept yet and it is illegal in california but where i live in colorado there was someone in colorado colorado springs walking down the street with a rifle and a woman called nine one one in the operator said that's legal in the state and then no sooner does she hang up the phone and he opened fire and killed four people. So how are you supposed to know who's a bad guy. Who's a good guy exactly it's in total vanity so i know like in terms terms of what's happening on a national stage. The only good thing teams from president trump is that because people aren't concerned about anyone taking away their guns anytime soon gun sales are in the toilet. We call the trump slump since donald trump was elected. Gun sales are down at least one hundred million dollars and that's because they don't don't have a boogeyman in the white house to make people afraid every time there's a mass shooting so because of donald trump's presidency and he received about thirty million dollars from the array. You would think that immediately the n._r._a. Would turn around and pass their priority pieces of legislation that they had been trying to pass for years and years they had a republican president republican congress and they failed because we've gotten so good at playing defense and so now here we are going into twenty twenty and the n._r._a. Is weaker than the ever been. We're are stronger than we've ever been and there's a real chance that that this election will be pivotal. Let's take a quick break. Aac i mentioned a few weeks ago on the podcast. That curiosity is my favorite state of being. I try yeah to carry that attitude with me every day and it's certainly easier to do it at a place like goop the places such a premium value on being curious and feeling empowered to explore and ask questions russians banana republic is another company that values curiosity. Their founding story starts with a california couple. Who's looking for an adventure bun back. Banana republic began as far inspired clothing company and today the inspiration for their clothing is designing for life in motion or as they put it living a life of the possibility with no boundaries there fall collection is conic banana republic styled for now so there are utility inspired styles made from premium materials serials think your favorite dresses pants updated an animal prints and menswear patterns and quintessential suede jackets and cashmere sweater the aware for many seasons to come and now banana republic is celebrating and true modern icons with goop through our special podcast series women on top. I hope you'll listen to every episode. These are the women who lead with power grace and curiosity who i think define what it means to break boundaries and maybe most importantly for working hard so that others to can live a life of possibility ability so keep listening and keep shopping with our friends at banana republic to get their fall collection had two banana republic dot com you weeks ago. It was my eighth wedding anniversary and as we come out of wedding anniversary we season i've been thinking about the different ways we celebrate certain moments and how we can create memories in our lives and if you've listened to my conversation with chip heath on this podcast you know this is something i think about a lot weddings and anniversaries are of course often marked by the exchange of a special piece of jewelry. Although some of the jewelry that is most special to me wasn't necessarily tied obvious date on the calendar simon g. jewelry specializes in fine jewelry for the traditionally big special occasions and and for the moments that we can make into special occasion over the past three decades simon. G. has become known for combining old world romance with modern techniques. Their pieces are glamorous us and timeless at the same time and if you happen to be looking i'll say that simon g. makes incredibly beautiful engagement rings to which stole the show and keeps engagement story this past smae around that time also launched our i g label fashion capsule for men and now simon jesus released their first collection to their eighteen piece collection includes rings necklaces and bracelets and eighteen carat gold diamond and rubber so to shop for that special man or woman in your life had to simon. I'm angie jewelry dot com and find a retailer near you. That's s. i. M. o. n. and then the letter g. Okay breaks over. Let's hear more from shannon watts pie in the sky. What do you think is possible. We need a background. Check on every gun sale so that just like license sales. People selling guns privately also have to perform background checks. That's how guns get into the hands of dangerous undress people. They buy them online by them. At gun shows by the garage sales and background checks required right now more than half of the states in the country allow guns ans sold with that background checks so we need the federal government to change that that's really the foundation on which all of the other laws exist <hes> but it would be great to also finally closed closed boyfriend loophole or federal level to pass a red flag law at the federal level to start funding gun research again you know the the government stopped funding ending c._d._c. research on this issue in the ninety s so we don't really understand fully the extent of our crisis or how to solve it and having more research go into gun. Violence is prevention would be incredibly important yeah and particularly for neighborhoods where i mean. This is an astounding statistic in the book one one that american civilians own close to four hundred million guns more than the population of the united states but that black-americans are ten times more likely to be killed by a gun than a white american an black child in america is fifteen times more likely to be killed by a gun so how have you i know you guys have worked really hard to build a really big tent to quote you. So how have you worked to address. All of those issues we we are paying attention to every single tentacle that gun violence has whether it's gun homicides suicides unintentional final shootings. You can't really talk about gun violence without talking about racism in this country and so we work at all different levels at a community level the state level at the federal level a to research gun violence to pass laws and policies that will address it but ultimately to change our culture of violence that is really a big piece of this for for so long the gun lobby has been insidious and they have really stripped all the responsibilities that go along with gun rights. Were not against the second amendment. Many of our volunteers are gun owners or they're married to them. This is really just about restoring the responsibilities that go along with gun rights totally yeah. I think that whole the second amendment sort sort of god given right to own a gun is so strange to me like it is a human given right. Thank you talk about this. It's a government right in needs to be respected. Did there is a ton of responsibility. Obviously that goes with it so looking at your movement and what you've managed to build and i know within the book you sort talk about activism and general staying on message which i'm sure so hard right and a time of all of these issues that you probably wish you could throw your weight into but you guys have been incredibly tight about staying on point brand. Having those red moms demand actions shirts like how how do you what do you credit with what you've built. Will you know i was in corporate communications for a good ten years or more. Before i started moms demand action i i cut my teeth at general electric and they taught me a lot about branding and communications and marketing and all of that was incredibly helpful in showing that we were credible that we were sophisticated that we were empowered and that we were in this for the long haul and we about a year into moms demand actions existence we partnered nerd with mayors against illegal guns which was a group created by mayor bloomberg when he was still the mayor and every town for gun. Safety is the umbrella over all the organisations were the grassroots grassroots arm now of every town but this this look in this feel and the fact that we are women mostly and that we are mothers <hes> of course now like mothers against drunk driving where mothers and others the brand that we have empowers women in an emboldens women but on top of that other people in america see that were winning. They see see the red shirts they see the momentum that we have on the ground in a we are not only the largest gun violence prevention organization were actually one of the largest grassroots roots movements in the country so the fact that we have hundreds of thousands of volunteers nearly six million supporters a chapter in every state this issue isn't going away and it is going to get fixed in several election cycles and it's just so important at that everyone understands that we are winning this and that we're not going to give up. Do you see a time in the future when you have i wen- we have such bulletproof no pun intended but when we are so buttoned up in our gun laws that the organization will morph and take on other issues or you're gonna retire. I see this being again. Like mothers against drunk driving took them about twenty in years to pass all the laws they need to significantly reduce the amount of drunk driving deaths in this country into completely transformed the culture of drunk driving and make it totally unacceptable. That's not our goal. Our goal is just to restore the responsibilities that go along with gun rights but i think this is going to take several election cycles and once it does then it will be up to our volunteers but also volunteers from the next generation to protect the winds we've made. I'm not really sure what's in store for me. Mm-hmm i would love to take a nap and learned a garden dare to exactly so for people who are listening and scattered got it across the country. What do you guys most need. Representation in numbers of women in red shirts strength in numbers is a huge part of this when we show up dozens dozens or hundreds of us at state houses. It's usually all of us versus one or two n._r._a. Lobbyists and the more lawmakers see a that will have their backs fox if they do the right thing but be we'll have their jobs if they don't that does depend on showing up and so for people to get involved you can actually just text the word ready ready to six four four three three and you'll get a volunteer call and someone will tell you how to join locally where you are but also to understand that that there's no activism that is too small we even have something called optimism so we have some volunteers who just make calls or send emails or use hashtag while their kids are taking up that what matters you don't have to carve forty hours a work week out of your life to work on this issue. Even if you only have a couple hours we're taipei a women moms. We will make the best use of it now. I love that. I also love that you welcome volunteers with the call because it feels like i've certainly had this experience of really really being moved in the moment to try to do more get involved and then to lake. I often run into a wall of like. We're not taking people right now. Are you will never hear that from other action but that or you know all of the families have are like we've covered. We're covered and then you're sort of like i don't know where to start. We we had so many people. Tell us that you know we started after sandy hook and they had called other organizations. You know whether it was gonna be on prevention or women groups or whatever it was and they would say you're the only ones who called me back and that's because we now have this entire network volunteers some of them who that's their only job is to call not only welcome volunteers but to immediately immediately get them involved in event where they live because we know that when we lay eyeballs on you you're much more likely to stay engaged. Let's take a quick break. <hes> there's a workout then there's a coupe workout and then there's goop league goop league. Our first major fitness focused experience. We're launching this new event the weekend of october twelfth to thirteenth in a city that we love and and it's become something of a second home to us that's austin texas guys and we'll be at our favorite the line hotel in downtown austin right on the river. What in the world can you expect from the google team. This time jubilee is all about tapping into the incredible potential of the body bringing together some of the most talented and cutting edge instructors and experts from the world fitness. These are the people who are redefining physical wellness and shaping the way we think about an approach the mind body soul connection as suggest that group league. You'll get to take three classes with these top practitioners in several different studio spaces ground lit pulse burn and released yeah and some of my very favorite teachers will be there like an array a former dancer from l._a. Who has developed a wholly unique compelling fund movement method that revolves around reconditioning your fascia. It's extraordinary. I promise and call at donkey from the nest in new york city will also be there. The executive team mchugh recently did the necessary new bounce and sculpting classes together. When we were out on the east coast it was hard knocking ally but it was kind of hilarious and very cool and of course i get to see and do a lot more you come to league there will be our pop-up shop food drinks and a bunch of power stations where it will have tools for soothing muscles relaxing and and just finding a little fan so to join the group league. You can get a pass for the event on saturday october twelve or sunday october. Thirteenth just had to google dot com slash goop leak okay breaks over. Let's hear more from shannon watts. So what advice do you you have for people whether they're going to join moms demand action or get involved with other issues that are relevant to this sort of our future. I guess collectively. Where would you recommend that people start. You could read fight like a mother. You know my my goal was for it to be part memoir to talk about what it's been like the tip of the spear for this issue part manual because i get so many calls from particularly women who say how do i start something like this but even on another issue in my neighborhood or my community or my state and so i wanted to put on paper exactly how he did it and then part manifesto because i want women to move from shaping policy to actually making take the skills they learn activists and translate them into being law and policy makers but i would say if you're passionate about something then then you should jump in and learn as you go and i talk about this book flying the building the plane as you fly because you don't have to wait until you know everything thing i mean for me. The first year was drinking from fire hose. Learning all about gun laws research and how to organize there were so many things to learn and if i had waited that year the moment would would've passed the other thing is you should expect to lose their another chapter. In the book is called losing forward. You aren't going to get involved in any issue that that needs to change whether it's legislatively or culturally and not lose you're just not and so you need to learn how to take failure as feedback and and even if you lose one battle in a very long war you can learn in win the next one and we have done that over and over again in our organization and so i talk a lot about that in the book but ultimately it is about perseverance and understanding that much of this work is a marathon not a sprint but it's also a relay race right. You have to hand the baton over when you're tired or something. Your family takes priority or precedence and understand the work will still be there when you come back. Now i thought very resonant and conversation conversation that i have had with many of my friends particularly post twenty thousand sixteen of this incipient burnt like it's so hard to say engage. I'm i'm waiting for someone to create. Maybe this is it but the framework of like how do you divvy it up. How do you tie in and out take a break. I think anyone who's empathetic can can i don't know any mother who is not extremely empathetic just overwhelming unless you take a moment to step back so i i love the idea that there are people who sort of cycling and cycle out or do they're almost term seems like for the organization and then slip out before reengaging yet. That's the structure. We've created yeah. So was there ever a moment when you almost gave up. Oh my gosh so many especially in the early days but the amazing thing about this work for me has been that every step of the way the obstacles have been removed. I can remember very early on our our facebook. Page was taking off and survivors particularly from the sandy hook tragedy would send me photos from their family and entrusted me to share these photos and tell their story story and we were just overrun by trolls who would say the most horrific things and it was becoming a full time job for me on top of all the other stuff i was doing to delete in block doc those trolls and i can remember i was literally laying on the closet floor crying feeling so overwhelmed my life had changed changed so much overnight and at that moment i got a call from a woman who said <hes> i live with a disability. I'm home twenty four hours a day. I'm actually just a few few blocks away from you. In indiana i would love to spend my days deleting all of the trolls from your social media outlets and she did that for several years so it has been remarkable to me that when i thought we couldn't go on we always found a way to and i also think that is partly because we have so many taipei women who just will not go backwards only forwards well exactly if you want to want something to get done ask a busy woman yup and a busy mom yeah no seriously seriously. I think it's incredible. Is there any coming legislation anywhere in the country where calls emails postcards redshirt redshirt are needed. Yes so we have something called the gunson's action network so no matter where you live you can put calls into states or into lawmakers and so there's a very important the election this year in virginia. Every single seat in the general assembly is up for election <hes> we could win a gun since majority. We only lost it by a few seats in the last election so that will be a big focus but also going into twenty twenty. You know we will be working at the state and federal level to elect gun since candidates. We flipped the makeup of seven state legislatures in two thousand eighteen. We've already gone into those impasse. Stronger gun laws in many states so this will be an incredibly important election cycle. Are there any candidates. He think are particularly particularly outstanding. What is so amazing about. The twenty twenty race so far is that for the first time ever every single candidate support support stronger gun laws even the republican who's primarily the president with the exception of donald trump. The democrats are competing to see who can be the best on this issue. If you remember just a few election cycles or even won election cycle ago. They didn't want to talk about this. This was something they thought would be divisive or would would be a drawback for them and what they've realized. It's not only not polarizing it gets people out to the polls and so we are seeing a complete sea change in election politics because of the work of <unk> yeah i love the idea to of how horizontal the organization is and the fact that issue based because the country has become so politicized. I think when you actually unwind it and unpack we all agree with more things than we don't and that's right and it's also about incremental change. Uh i always say that people who are doing the incremental work that leads to revolutions while people are complaining about incremental ism right that is such an important part of democracy and and the structure that has been built for us to work in it is about incremental change and it isn't necessarily going to happen overnight and you you have to kind of dig in and accept without an count all your wins because stopping bad bills as a win passing good bills as wind changing out lawmakers is a win <hes> but that is is work work that doesn't happen overnight totally and it's also i think so much about that issue education so much just gets swept up into party politics and then when you don't do the work of unwinding what these things actually mean people end up subscribe to things that are actually diametrically opposed to their own values so so it's it's. I love seeing issues like this. Unravel across democrats republicans libertarians and the unity like progressive aggressive and hardcore conservatives can absolutely come together on these types of things. Nobody wants to watch kids die so i think arkansas such a great example of of of what you're talking about because it was a state where it was very hard to organize. I think people felt kind of hopeless on this issue and so i would go out to little rock doc every year or so with the same handful of very lovely women but we weren't growing there and what happened was we suffered a huge loss which ages that the governor signed guns on campus bill it sailed through the state house governor signed it standing next to era lobbyist very proudly it even allowed guns sons in razorback stadium where alcohol sold and what happened was amazing because women and moms started coming out of the woodwork and we went from about two local groups to over a dozen across the state and we were able to take that size and power and carve out exemptions so that guns would not be allowed in razorback stadium stadium and then the next year to volunteers ran for office including one who ran against the man who put the guns on campus bill forward both won their now arkansas lawmakers and then this year we were able to completely shut down the n._r._a.'s agenda including a standard ground bill in the state of arkansas and some some of the republican lawmakers there have even said that the energy has become too extreme and that theory too extreme arkansas so that's how this work it's done done. It's kind of like drips on iraq but eventually you do reach this point where you realize you're more powerful than your opponent totally and stand your ground so that everyone knows that's. That's someone's right to just shoot shoot first. Ask questions later essentially which as we know is particularly harmful for communities of color yeah. I just want to ask one final question. Clearly you work with a lot of people who have been traumatized by gone. Who've lost children spouses friends. How do you is it sort of action is the antidote and that this work is inherently very healing. How do you handle how do you work with people who have experienced experienced such unbelievable acts of horror. It's become incredibly inspirational for me to work with gun. Violence survivors often survivors will say to me. I'm grateful that you're working on this even though you haven't had a horrific loss but i say to them i can't believe i believe that you have found the strength and the courage to work on this given what you have experienced to me that is heroic and every day i'm inspired fire to work with people who have decided that they are going to turn their pain into purpose and help save the lives of perfect strangers so that they don't have to you experience what they've been through. I don't think it's for every survivor to get involved in activism but for those who do. I certainly think that they find healing. I have worked worked with so many women and mothers who feel like they found their tribe when they joined moms demand action and it's a real support system for them and they also feel like like making a change is in honor of their loved ones well. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for leading thank you standing up and putting up a facebook page one one of the most inspirational stories around i appreciate it. Thanks for listening to my chat with shannon watts to learn more about how you can help go to mom. Samantha action dot org get a copy of shannon's book fight like a mother and as she mentioned to get more involved you can text the word ready to six six four three three even if this is not your particular 'cause fight like a mother the incredible guide to how to get active g._p. Said it. I've said it and i'll say it again. If you wanna get something done give it to a mom.

Coming up next