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Single-day mass shooting record prompts ‘History. Culture. Trauma.’ encore with ‘minister of gun violence prevention’, Rev. Deanna Hollas


Mass shootings in America marked a new milestone Saturday with seven separate events in six different states leaving 10 people dead. At a Sweet Sixteen birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama, four people between the ages of 17 - 32 were killed, and 28 more were injured.

The previous one-day high for mass shootings was January 1, 2023, when there were six.

As of April 18, 2023, the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) reported there have been at least 164 mass shootings in the United States leaving more than 200 people dead and 650 injured.

History. Culture. Podcast hosts Ingrid Cockhren, CEO of PACEs Connection, and Mathew Portell, director of education and outreach, experienced the shock of being near a school mass shooting two weeks ago when three adults and three children lost their lives at a private school in Nashville, where both live and each dropped a child off at school the next morning.

Screen Shot 2023-04-04 at 3.10.29 PMThis week Cockren and Portell share an encore podcast with guest Rev. Deanna Hollas, the gun violence prevention ministry coordinator with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, a founding member of the Everytown for Gun Safety Interfaith Advisory Council, and the co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center. Her congregation is in Dallas, TX. The podcast airs April 20 at 1 p.m. PT; 4 p.m. ET.

In a Religious News Service post last summer, Hollas said she is “never surprised by gun violence.”

Pointing to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Hollas said that every day incidents involving guns take more than 120 lives.

“The mass shootings capture our attention because it could be us. The randomness feels so much worse as opposed to the one child that gets ahold of a gun or the one that gets shot by a drive-by shooting. Those, oftentimes, we’ve become numb to, and we’ve just expected them to be normal, but it’s not. It’s not normal,” she said.

“It’s only because we have so many guns.”

Hollas joined the June 2, 2022 History. Culture. Trauma. podcast following more than 60 mass shootings in the United States in the month of May 2022. These included the Buffalo, NY, killing of 10 Black adults and at a grocery store, and May 24 killing of 19 students and two teachers in a Uvalde, TX, elementary school.

Hollas had written a blog post, “Why White Churches Need to Start Chopping Up Guns” in her role with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.

Hollas’s vision for the first National Guns to Gardens Day became a reality in 2022 with scores of congregations and organizations across the nation collecting hundreds of guns to be ground up and turned into garden tools.

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2023 National Guns to Gardens Day 2023 action circles are open for registration in preparation for this year's events.

According to her biography, “Rev. Hollas empowers and equips individuals and congregations across the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination to embody Jesus's call to love God and love thy our neighbor by being informed  and active in the prevention of gun violence.”

The Rev. Hollas holds a Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology and a Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Tools she shares include:

Tune in here for this Thursday's History. Culture. Trauma. podcast.

Or find the podcast on your favorite podcast provider below.

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