Real Life with Gia: Community Self-care in the Aftershock the Uvalde, Texas Massive Shooting

Jul 21st, 2022

Gun violence continues to be a grappling issue that obscures how society understands rights, protections, trauma and ways to care in communities. On May 24, 2022, my social media timeline messages were saturated with outrage, concern, and worry regarding the massive shooting in Uvalde. I immersed myself in the sentiments of many parents, advocates, and community members across the US. A month later, I continue to feel an overwhelming sense of need for community self-care. The implications of a global pandemic amplifies the need for community self-care and how I understand to remedy a history of torn politics on gun control. 

In the wake of the UvaldeTexas massive shooting, I can recall being on Twitter and seeing a post of Governor Gavin Newsom calling for the interpretation and implementation of comprehensive gun laws to protect our communities. Wholeheartedly, I continue to believe that the  governor understands that when children and educators’ lives are taken through gun violence there’s a deeper message of perpetual dissonance within our country.

Several weeks ago, I received emails from the MoveOn political committee regarding signing petitions in efforts to cancel the NRA Texas convention as a call to action. I felt propelled to utilize my own voice to send messages that the need for community self-care is essential in combating the negative impact of a massive shooting. The mountains of emails, twitter posts, and articles online left a looming feeling of injustice regarding the right of education in safe environments.   

I, like most families, have cautiously sent my children to in-person learning and a childcare setting. The underlying issue is that many parents are feeling stifled in their ability to address the most precious things about development due to implications of the Global Pandemic. Recently, I’ve had conversations with parents about the unspoken challenges many of us have faced during the past 2 years and it’s mind blowing.The revelation of traumatic events relating to gun violence continue to signify the ongoing need for stricter gun laws.Unfortunately, parents in Uvalde, Texas are left to cope with maladaptive events that leave parents triggered, experiencing feelings of loss, anguish, and hypervigilance of current actions to keep people safe.

  That’s why Community Self-Care is the way to go. The aftershock of these horrifying events leave me saddened and convinced of the importance of self-care. I think it’s crucial that lawmakers, advocates, parents, and educators provide emotional space in the forms of resources, discussions, and priorities to eliminate gun violence such as the Texas school shooting. In my perfect world, community self-care would exhibit check-ins with neighbors, text messages to family, and mindfulness of the importance of mental healthcare in the community.

The notion of community self-care is imperative in understanding ways to address gun violence, community trauma, and social injustices in the year 2022. Admittedly, throughout the quarantine, I struggled to maintain the balance of social isolation and self-care as a mother of four. This entails juggling volleyball mom duties, quarantine pods, and life with three children under the age of 3. Undoubtedly, it’s relevant to say, my mommy superhero powers were put to the test pertaining to the inherent experience of a prolonged quarantine.  

In reality, life in the United States and across the globe has changed drastically over the past 2 years and the impact of a quarantine is its proof. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, many Americans continue to experience feelings of stress, depression, isolative behaviors, irritability and anger which can exacerbate social problems implicated in mass shootings. It’s awful. So, on social media parents across the US are striving to mourn rightly, help their kids feel safe, address child care needs, and the emotional well-being of our children.  I want my kids and community members to feel safe from a public health crisis and school violence; precluding the overall need of community self-care in the year 2022. The implications of Covid are no wrecking ball to evade but a precursor in developing effective ways to prevent the increase of maladaptive coping strategies in society. 

On May 24, 2022, feelings of grief, sadness, frustration, and pain filled the hearts of many in the US. It’s the time to acknowledge the overall impact of gun violence and unresolved issues that continue to permeate the understanding of ways to care for others post pandemic. It’s essential to be responsive and tentative to the underlying inclinations of gun violence, social issues, and trauma in communities.  Our kids are the substance in our country that continue to deserve protection, love, resources, quality childcare, and a society that will elevate their need to understand the beauty in life. No more gun violence.