Survivors Empowered
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News + Events


News + Events

#30billboards press release;


Eric Hollister Williams,, 202-255-2205


Parents of Aurora Mass Shooting Launch National Billboard Campaign on 19th Anniversary of Columbine Massacre

30 Billboards Outside Cowardly Incumbents supported by survivors of nation’s gun tragedies


Friday, April 20, 2018 – On the 19th anniversary of the tragic mass shooting which took the lives of 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School, survivors of mass shootings and families take a stand at a critical period in the nation’s debate on gun reform. The non-profit organization Survivors Empowered Action Fund today launched 30 Billboards Outside Cowardly Incumbents, a national public awareness and voter education campaign calling to end senseless gun deaths and pass sensible gun reform legislation. Inspired by the acclaimed motion picture, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri,” gun tragedy survivors of Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Orlando, San Bernardino, are sending a message to politicians in Washington that the country has experienced enough and the time has come for national gun reform.


“We have decided that enough is enough,” said Lonnie Phillips, co-founder of Survivors Empowered and father of Jessica Ghawi, who was murdered in the Aurora Theater shooting on July 20, 2012. “It is time that we hold members of Congress accountable for their inaction in the face of tragedy after tragedy. These cowardly leaders are in the pocket of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and refuse to pass sensible gun reform legislation that reflects what the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, desire. We are not afraid of the NRA. We outnumber the NRA and we're going to be fighting back with our votes.”


The national campaign plans to put up 30 billboards in targeted congressional districts and expose members of Congress who receive support from the NRA and who have done nothing to address gun violence in the nation. Thirteen billboards are already up in Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. With additional funding, 17 more billboards will be placed in Congressional districts across the country where vulnerable incumbent Republicans are in the pocket of the NRA. Billboards are currently up in the following congressional districts:


§  Rep. Martha Roby (AL 02)

§  Rep. Raúl Labrador (ID 01)

§  Rep. Rob Blum (IA 01)

§  Rep. Don Bacon (NE 02)

§  Rep. David Young (IA 03)

§  Rep. Stephen Knight (CA 25) (3 billboards)

§  Rep. Karen Handel (GA 06)

§  Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN 03)

§  Rep. Mike Coffman (CO 06)

§  Rep. Paul Ryan (WI 01) (2 billboards)

sample billboard

sample billboard






“Our objective is simple: put the politicians on notice that NRA support will cost them their jobs,” said Sandy Phillips, co-founder of Survivors Empowered and mother of the late Jessica Ghawi. “We’ve had enough of the inaction. How many Columbines, Parklands, Sandy Hooks must we have? Our families have been terrorized by guns and enough is enough. It’s time voters knew this information and voted in those who are prepared to bring about sensible reforms to the nation’s gun laws.”

Billboards will be up in the districts of vulnerable incumbent members of Congress who have received financial support from the NRA. With a $1 million campaign goal, Survivors Empowered Action Fund will keep the billboards up through the 2018 mid-term elections in all 30 congressional districts and until sensible gun legislation is passed into law that makes the following reforms:


  1. National ban on assault weapons
  2. Raise the age limit to 21 for purchase of weapons
  3. Close the gun show loophole
  4. Universal background checks and a waiting period for all gun purchases
  5. Repeal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms ACT (PLCAA)

*sample billboard


On Friday, April 20, 2018, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, survivors, families of those affected by gun violence and supporters of reasonable gun reform will hold candlelight vigils across the country at the sites of the billboards. To learn more about the 30 Billboards Outside Cowardly Incumbents national campaign, the candlelight vigils or to make a donation, visit


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About Survivors Empowered

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. Survivors Empowered provides support and referrals for services to survivors of violence, and connects you to a support network of other survivors in your area. We train survivors on how to tell their stories in a compelling way to speak to the issue of violence in their communities.



I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
— Angela Davis