Disarm: A Themed Issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America

Letter From The Editor 

The Disarm issue is intended to explore the unacceptable trend of mass shootings in America. This is an issue that reflects upon the incalculable pain and grief caused by losing family members in mass shootings. An issue which reflects upon the harsh realities of surviving a mass shooting. An issue that explores why more has not been done by national and local government officials to safeguard our communities. An issue that asks why guns are still so readily accessible in America. An issue that asks why guns continue to find their way into the hands of individuals who use them to claim innocent lives. According to a Washington Post Article by Christopher Ingraham, “There are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, or enough for every man, woman and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over.” This is an issue that asks why a country whose leaders regularly claim that it is “the greatest nation in the world,” one that values freedom and justice for all, has so many citizens die in mass shootings every year. This is also an issue that memorializes the loved ones who have been stolen from their friends and families in mass shootings. This is a space to remember their beautiful lives and honor their memories.

This is also an issue that demands change in the form of political action, as well as a paradigm shift regarding gun culture in America. This is an issue that shows how young people across the country are organizing to create solutions to gun violence. How they are asking big questions and encouraging us to change American society. I see them imagining a new future through grass roots organization. I see them making change through marches, get out the vote campaigns, and public forums pushing for legislation that ensures mass shootings never happen again.

I hope this issue amplifies all of those themes. Additionally, I hope this issue helps inspire others to imagine and enact a shared vision for America. A vision where we as a nation are able to take what we have learned from the pain and human cost of these mass shootings and make a safer society for our friends and loved ones. Where we can advocate for the tools of violence to be disarmed and destroyed. Where public places and schools are safer than they ever have been. Where we do not have to wonder if the next text or phone call we receive will be about our loved ones dying in a mass shooting. We want a nation that creates safe spaces, places where all citizens are truly free from violence, and have the liberty to imagine a future that transcends the violence of our current American culture.

With that said, welcome to the Disarm issue. This issue includes 32 poems from 26 poets who responded to these aforementioned issues with eloquence and bravery. I want to take this moment to thank them for using their gifts to speak out against mass shootings in America. We will release one new poem each day from September 1st-October 2nd. Poems will go live on our site at 9pm Eastern Daylight Time every night. I hope you will join us here in solidarity and in our larger quest. We want a world where the lives of our friends and loved ones are not cut short by the finality of a bullet. We want our children to grow old and live to build beautiful things. Melt down guns and ammunition. Disarm the tools of violence.

Humbly yours in solidarity,

-Christian Sammartino
Rising Phoenix Review

Disarm (1)

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