This past Tuesday, Ayub Ali, the father of two survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, was fatally shot in a robbery at his convenience store.
Again and again, we are reminded that all that gun violence does is take. It takes the sanctity and safety of our communities, it takes our peace of mind in the places that are meant to be sanctuaries, and it takes our loved ones– our people.
According to the statistics, Ali was one of 96 Americans who died by a firearm on July 17th. In the days between that shooting and today, 480 more Americans have joined him.
Imagine if we said all of their names, every day. How long would it take us? The minute we finished on one day, would we have to take a deep breath and begin the next day’s list? What if we named all of the secondary casualties, too; what’s the number of people whose lives will never be the same after losing their people, their loved ones, to gun violence?
How many places and people did they belong to?
For Ayub Ali’s family, for all of the families whose names we will never know, and for all of the people who think about their own victims of gun violence every night and swear that they would do something– anything– to have them back, we pray.
For them, we promise to do better.