For Immediate Release
Contact: Sharon Rubinstein, 914-314-6696, [email protected]
Sandy and Lonnie Phillips Reach Out to Fellow Survivors in Buffalo; Decry Unabated Mass Shooting Carnage
College Park, MD -- May 15, 2022
The founders of Survivors Empowered, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, are mourning the loss of life in Buffalo’s racially-motivated mass shooting, extending condolences to all affected, and springing into action to help as much as they can.
“We are heartbroken - yet again,” said Sandy Phillips. “We’ve been in touch by telephone and email with mental health professionals in Buffalo, and we have sent them our Survivors Empowered/Giffords - Toolkit for those who suffer this kind of devastating loss,” she added. (The toolkit, specifically designed for gun violence survivors, was created in partnership with Giffords, the organizations founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.)
The Phillipses, whose daughter Jessi was killed at the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, are in the midst of their yearlong “Honor with Action” tour that marks the decade since Jessi was killed. Recently in Baltimore for an event they co-sponsored on May 11, “Centering Survivors: Honoring Lived Experience in Gun Violence Policy,” they were planning to cover the northeast this June, but are now considering a detour west.
“We are ready to offer our help in Buffalo, and be on the ground,” said Lonnie Phillips. “For us, that usually means meeting with survivors, and we are ready to talk with community leaders, activists, public officials, and anyone else who might want whatever solidarity we can offer.”
The Phillipses have long assailed the lack of sensible federal gun policies and legislation that remain stalled despite ever-increasing firearm bloodshed in the United States. More than 400,000 deaths through gun violence have occurred in the nearly ten years since their daughter was murdered.
Survivors Empowered is dedicated to aiding survivors directly, and helping them to use their voices. One key element: providing solace and support, so that a rising chorus can create change and protection from more death and loss.
Survivors Empowered is an organization founded by Sandy and Lonnie Phillips after the slaughter of their daughter, Jessica Redfield Ghawi and eleven others in the Aurora Colorado Theater Mass Shooting in 2012. Their original non-profit, Jessi’s Message, has grown into Survivors Empowered - a national organization created By Survivors, For Survivors, Empowering Survivors.