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The Relentless School Nurse: Raising Public Voices to #FightForOurFuture

So much has happened in the two short weeks since this event on June 10, 2022! We now have a path forward with the first bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation in 30 years. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a breakthrough bill with strong support to move swiftly through the Senate and the House.

I spent a day like no other with a group of gun violence survivors and victims' families gathered together to demand that the Senate take meaningful legislative action on gun violence measures. I was honored to be one of the speakers at the Brady: United Against Gun Violence rally in Washington, D.C. on Friday, June 10th.

There were 2,280 notebooks and pencils meticulously laid out on the lawn facing The Capitol. It was a powerful visual representing the number of children killed by gun violence since no action has been taken by the Senate after the background check bill, H.R.8, was passed by Congress.

These books represent the 2,280 children that have been killed by gun violence in the past 456 days — or the time that the Senate has refused to bring a vote on background checks.[/caption]



Here is the message I shared at the rally. There were there many speakers, including Senator Chris Murphy, Congressman Mike Thompson, Fred Guttenberg, and Manuel & Patricia Oliver. The emotions ran high with a balance of frustration for the lack of inaction by the Senate, and hope that there will finally be a response to intense public pressure.  Special appreciation to Barbara Glickstein for this recording:



More scenes from the day, including a recording of all of the speakers:



Transcription of the message I delivered on June 10, 2022, at the Brady United event:

  • We will no longer tolerate the intolerable!
  • Where mass shootings have become so common that bulletproof backpacks are on back-to-school shopping lists. And parents, teachers, and school nurses like me hope they are never needed.
  • Where children and teens walk into classrooms looking for the best place to hide or an escape route before picking their desks.
  • My name is Robin Cogan and I am a school nurse, a relentless one because bulletproof backpacks cannot be an answer to keeping our kids safe at school.
  • I am also a family member of survivors – and victims – of two mass shootings in America.
  • The first involved my dad. He was a 12-year-old boy in September of 1949 in Camden, New Jersey, the same city where I am a school nurse. On the morning of September 9, 1949, a neighbor, killed 13 people and wounded 3 others in a matter of minutes. Of the 13, 3 were my family members, my father’s mother, father, and grandmother. My father survived, but his childhood & sense of safety were gone forever..
  • Unimaginably almost 70 years later on February 14, 2018, my niece was a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School and would hide in a closet, just like my father did, to escape the school shooting in Parkland Florida.
  • For me, gun violence is both personal and professional.
  • Every day parents across this country entrust their children to our schools. We are supposed to be places of safety, security, and learning.  But every day school communities wonder if they will be next in the line of fire.
  • Schools are on high alert. We are installing panic buttons and practicing hyper-realistic active shooter drills. This generation has tragically earned the title of #GenerationLockdown.
  • Firearms are now the leading cause of death for American children and teens and have been the leading cause of death for children and teens of color. Gun violence has surpassed car accidents in the race where there are no winners, to see which is the deadliest to our kids.
  • Since Columbine, there have been almost 331 school shootings since Columbine and more than 311,000 kids have been exposed to gun violence in school alone. Scores more through community gun violence.
  • What these figures don’t tell you, is the collateral damage of this uniquely American crisis. What happens after the shooting stops, is the ripple effect.
  • Gun violence is shaping the lives of our children, they live in fear of the next shooting.
  • Conversations among school nurses include ‘Stop the Bleed’ combat first aid training for staff and students and getting tourniquets in every classroom.
  • 95% of  American schools now have regular active shooter drills. We need to prepare for emergencies, not traumatize our students.
  • We don’t fill our schools with smoke and debris to practice fire drills.
  • A trauma surgeon I met said, “the most courageous thing I do every day is put my children on a school bus.”
  • As a school nurse, I never thought I’d see bullet-proof backpacks as must-have back-to-school items, but that’s where we are today.
  • It’s where we are, but doesn’t have to be where we stay. This can never be normalized.
  • Politicians, I am talking to you, as a school nurse, a constituent, and a family member of victims and survivors of gun violence:
  • Gun Violence is a  public health epidemic, we need research to stop the shooters before they shoot. The US Senate stands between our children and the guns pointing at them in schools and communities across this country.
  • We need funding for research, which has been woefully underfunded for more than 20 years.
  • No more hollow thoughts and prayers. They are letters scrambled together unless they have meaningful action behind them.
  • Stop blaming the victims. Start taking meaningful legislative action.
  • Politicians who make decisions that hurt children and schools are the problem, not the schools.
  • Inaction is the problem. Stop hiding behind an archaic notion, no one, no one needs weapons of mass destruction under the guise of the right to bear arms.
  • Start by doing your job & represent your constituents who are resoundingly on the side of keeping children safe. 88% of Americans say yes to gun safety legislation, what right do you have to say no?

Here is the description from Brady United of the event, along with the full 2-hour video of the formal speeches:

HAPPENING NOW: We’re live on the National Mall with the AFT - American Federation of Teachers, National Parent Teacher Association, March For Our Lives, This Is Our Lane, and more to demand the U.S. Senate bring gun violence prevention legislation to a vote. Join us now to hear from Senator Chris Murphy, Congressman Mike Thompson, and more.
We’ve laid out 2,280 schoolbooks and broken pencils around our podium on the lawn. They represent the 2,280 children that have been killed by gun violence in the past 456 days — or the time that the Senate has refused to bring a vote on background checks.
We're telling senators: #DontLookAway. We demand a vote on background checks. We demand a vote to protect our children, prevent tragedies, and save lives. Take action now: bradyunited.org.

Full video of the event: https://fb.watch/dAgZRbxTWK/





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