#UNLOAD is an arts-based initiative that seeks to drive consensus around one of the most divisive issues today: gun violence.
We have a problem with gun violence in this country. Too many men, women, and children are killed or grievously wounded by firearms. Mass shootings occur with frightening regularity. Suicides are on the rise. Children with access to unsecured weapons accidentally shoot family members. The majority of Americans want this to end: gun owners and gun safety advocates; Democrats, Republicans, and independents; city and country dwellers; citizens and immigrants. The solutions to reduce gun violence are complex but possible and yet we’ve been unable to stop the killing. A nation divided, we mistrust one another, hold divergent beliefs about how to interpret the Second Amendment, and disagree on the root causes of gun violence. The politics around this issue are toxic and make finding a solution seemingly impossible. We need to adopt a new approach.
#UNLOAD offers the chance to take a new approach to one of America’s most alarming and loaded issues. We are organizing and collaborating on many exciting arts events starting in 2018 that will bring together a diverse audience for conversations about the role and impact of guns and will help us drive consensus and find solutions to the epidemic of gun violence. We will also use technology, social media, and our website to expand opportunities for many to speak up and be heard, especially young people and students. And at the end of the year, we hope to produce a blueprint for action that can be exported to other states. So, this project is about hope- the hope that progress is still possible.
#UNLOAD has chosen to host these events and continue the national conversation in Connecticut because of its long and complex history with guns. Connecticut has been a hub of weapons and ammunition production as well as the state where the unimaginable mass murder of 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School took place. In addition, like most other states, Connecticut confronts the constant, growing scourges of urban gun violence and suicide.