JWI's statement on this weekend's mass shootings, the Women's Health Protection Act, and the Violence Against Women Act: Your civic action to-do list for 8-5-19

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Following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, JWI CEO Lori Weinstein issued the following statement:

“There are no words, and yet, we are in a time that demands we find our voice. The mass murder of hundreds of men, women, and children - most recently in El Paso and Dayton - devastates families and communities across the country and breaks the hearts of us all. The divisive and hateful rhetoric of our President and the Senate’s failure to enact gun violence prevention policies must lead us, once again, to demand change. We implore the Senate to take action immediately to mandate background checks for all gun sales, ban assault weapons, and make sure no violent person, nor individual in crisis is able to purchase a firearm – their inaction makes them complicit in these massacres.”

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3. 251 mass shootings in 216 days. Hundreds of deaths and injuries in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton in just 7 days. No metric can adequately capture the pain or loss our communities have suffered throughout 2019 alone. All we can do is work together to demand our elected officials put a stop to this tragic drumbeat of gun violence, white supremacy, and hate.

In a nutshell: We need comprehensive gun reform in this country. This overhaul must include the following: the Background Check Expansion Act of 2019 (S.42), which requires a background check for every gun sale, including through private sales, at gun shows, and online; the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 (S.66/H.R.1296), which reinstates the federal ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and the Disarm Hate Act, which prevents individuals with a history of hate-motivated criminal conduct from accessing guns.

Take Action: Insist that your Members of Congress mandate background checks for all gun salesban assault weapons, and prohibit violent individuals from purchasing firearms.


2. Abortion rights remain in jeopardy, and we owe it to women to keep their bodily autonomy at the fore of our collective memory and advocacy. In the wake of the extreme abortion bans that headlined our summer, we need federal law to stop these attacks and ensure access to reproductive freedom across the country.

In a nutshell: The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) (H.R.2975/S.1645) will need 218 votes to pass the House – and we’re at 205 co-sponsorships now. WHPA will prohibit states from imposing restrictions on abortion that are medically unnecessary or disrupt access to care. Women need this federal protection to defang conservative-majority statehouses, which have consistently legislated to deprive them of their constitutional right to safe, legal abortion.

Take Action: Encourage your Members of Congress to support WHPA!  


1. The Senate has yet to introduce a companion bill to H.R.1585, the Violence Against Women Act of 2019 (VAWA), which the House passed in April. Millions of victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking rely on VAWA. We need the Senate to reauthorize it now with new investments in sexual assault prevention, protections for Native women, and measures to reduce intimate partner homicide.

In a nutshell: Your Senators will be home for five weeks for the August Recess – and they need to hear from you about why strengthening VAWA is important! 

Take Action: Go to town hall meetings, especially those featuring your Senators and congressional candidates, to get politicians’ stance on VAWA on the record. Also, you can take a meeting with your Senators or their staff in their district offices! Check out this toolkit to learn more about what to say, how to set up meetings, and what 501(c)(3)s can and cannot do at candidate meetings.