Sandy and Lonnie Phillips
Lonnie and Sandy Phillips are the parents of Jessica Ghawi who was murdered in the Massacre at the Aurora Theater shooting on July 20th, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. That mass murder was one of the worst in U.S. history with twelve killed and seventy wounded. Soon after Jessica's death Sandy and Lonnie became activists for the prevention of violence in this country. They Sold their belongings, bought a RV and are presently traveling the country speaking to and reaching out to other survivors through their non-profit Survivors Empowered.
In the five years since the death of their daughter they have met with elected officials at the national and state level and worked with many national groups that advocate for the reduction of violence in our country. They are also featured in Katie Couric's documentary "Under the Gun" and have done television and radio interviews with the national media.
Chief Daniel J. Oates
Chief Oates is a 1977 graduate of Bucknell University with a B.A. degree in English and a 1986 graduate of New York Law School. He is admitted to practice law in Colorado, New York and New Jersey. He also holds a 1993 Masters of Science Degree in Management from New York University.
Chief Oates is also a member of numerous professional associations. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a long-time member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), a Past President of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police and the past Vice-Chair of the Colorado Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).
Daniel J. Oates was appointed as the 19th Chief of the Miami Beach Police Department on June 9, 2014.
Prior to his appointment in Miami Beach, Chief Oates served for nearly nine years as the Chief of Police for the City of Aurora, Colorado, a major suburb Denver. In the early morning hours of July 20th, 2012, the Aurora Police Department was called to the scene of a mass shooting with twelve dead and seventy wounded. This horrific event put chief Oates in close personal contact with with many victims of that mass casualty event including his own officers. His compassionate outreach and follow through with the survivors of this traumatic event has classified him as a survivor of the worst kind of violence.
After both her brother and best friend became victims of gun violence, Hollye Dexter became a dedicated advocate for gun reform. She is the author of two books and has had many articles published on the subject of gun violence prevention. Hollye currently serves on the board of Women Against Gun Violence, was previously employed by Everytown for Gun Safety, and established the first Moms Demand Action chapter in Los Angeles after the Sandy Hook massacre. Through her nonprofit Art and Soul Programs, she worked for a decade with at-risk teens, keeping them off the streets and involved in arts programs.
Virginia State Director
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Lori has worked for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) since January 2010. Though she was originally an organizer, her role has since expanded; she has served as Virginia State Director for years.
After the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, during which her daughter was shot twice and survived, Lori became personally involved in gun violence prevention efforts. She has worked with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Virginia Center for Public Safety, Protest Easy Guns, and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. She regularly lobbies for responsible gun laws on Capitol Hill in Washington and before the Virginia General Assembly.
Wayne Richardson, South Portland, Maine Retired from Verizon (formerly New England Telephone Company)
On January 8, 2010, Wayne’s 25-year-old daughter, Darien was asleep in her room when masked intruders entered and started shooting. She was shot several times and rushed to the hospital where she spent three weeks . Tragically, she died from gunshot wounds on February 28, 2010. "We were devastated. Together with family and friends he formed a nonprofit foundation to help victims of violent crimes, Remembering Darien.
The police learned that the weapon, although first sold in retail in 2009 was resold via private sale, no background check, no records kept at a gun show in Maine ~ which is perfectly legal. This is where her case went cold and that is when he decided to get involved in passing a background check in our state.
He has lived in Maine and hunted his entire life, is a gun owner and conceal carry permit holder. Wayne and his wife were the citizen co-sponsors of Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership Background Check Referendum in 2016. They worked hard to get that initiative passed, speaking at fundraisers and events, doing interviews with local and national news and publications. They are members of the board of Maine Gun Safety Coalition. They also shared their daughter's story in a documentary called 91%: A Film About Guns in America.
Nardyne Jefferies is the Founder of Stop Killing Innocent People (S.K.I.P.) and mother of Brishell Jones who was murdered in the Nation’s Capital, by a group of young males with 3 different caliber weapons one being an AK-47 on March 30, 2010 on South Capitol Street, SE, along with 4 other youth, and where 6 others were injured including her best friend.
Nardyne later worked along with The Honorable David Catania, Council Member-At- Large, and the Council of the District of Columbia, to create the SOUTH CAPITOL STREET MEMORIAL AMENDMENT ACT OF 2012.. The act creates a comprehensive youth behavioral health infrastructure in the District of Columbia.
In December of 2013 Ms. Jefferies worked along with her community leaders to identify and organize locations for Newtown Action Alliance to volunteer as part of their Acts of Kindness in honor of the innocent lives murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Nardyne was a panel guest at Hampton University’s Annual Conference on the Black Family and a guest speaker at the National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence at the National Cathedral.
On March 10, 2014, Nardyne’s motorcycle club, Organized Chaos Ryderz, escorted Team 26 from Newtown, CT, from Bel Air, MD to Baltimore, and then into DC on March 11, 2014 as well as every year thereafter.
Nardyne participated in Campaign to Unload short film about divestment, which won at the Cannes Lion awards in 2014 at the 61st annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France. Unload your 401k, a project of Campaign to Unload and States United to Prevent Gun Violence, produced by Grey New York, won a Titanium Lion.
Tom Mauser is the father of Daniel Mauser, one of the students killed at Columbine High in 1999. Tom became a GVP advocate following that tragedy, taking a one-year leave of absence from his job to work as a lobbyist in the Colorado legislature to fight for stronger gun laws. When the legislature failed to pass a bill to close the “gun show loophole,” Tom served as spokesman for Amendment 22, the Colorado ballot initiative that closed that loophole by a vote 70% to 30%. His work was recognized in President Bill Clinton’s 2000 State of the Union address and he has made numerous media appearances and public speeches. Tom serves as a board member of Colorado Ceasefire and its spokesman. He’s the author of “Walking in Daniel’s Shoes,” which describes his many Columbine experiences.
T. Christian Heyne
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Christian Heyne has served as a legislative staffer with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) since May 2010. He currently holds the position of Legislative Director.
Christian grew up in Thousand Oaks, California — one of America’s safest cities. He began advocating for stronger gun laws after his parents were shot by a man with a history of violence on Memorial Day 2005 while returning a boat from a holiday vacation. His father survived multiple gunshots, but his mother was killed. In the wake of the tragedy, Christian and his father, Tim, started a chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Ventura County, where they helped to pass a number of local ordinances, including one that requires individuals to report lost and stolen handguns within the county. While attending California State University, Chico, Christian started the first collegiate chapter of the Brady Campaign. The chapter was able to raise awareness through lie-in events and other campus activities. The chapter also lobbied in the state legislature for bills like AB 1471, which implemented microstamping technology as a crime-solving tool in California.
After receiving a legal studies degree and a paralegal certificate from Chico State, Christian moved to Washington, DC, where he now resides.
His daughter Veronika, a 19 year-old college freshman, bled to death on a sidewalk next to her sorority sister, Katie on a beautiful spring evening in picturesque Isla Vista, California, just after sunset. The young women were shot down in cold blood by a mass killer who viciously stole 7 lives and seriously injured 18 others. Bob’s loving family of 5 instantly became a distraught family of 4 gun violence survivors. The beleaguered family was then subjected to the neglect and abuse gun violence survivors routinely endure. Bob began standing up for the rights of survivors. He retired early from his career in the communications industry which included positions at CBS in Philadelphia and most recently, KABC-Los Angeles to focus on his family’s healing process and the rights of fellow survivors of mass shootings across our country.
About Our Boards
Our Board of Directors is made up of Survivors of violence. They understand the need for the voices of survivors to be heard, encouraged, and validated. They understand the pain that survivors suffer through each day and the bravery it takes to find and use their voice.
Our Advisory Board is made up of leaders in the violence prevention community that are dedicated to seeing Survivors take control of their own stories and use them effectively to create safer communities, states and nation.
“OFTEN IT’S THE DEEPEST PAIN WHICH EMPOWERS YOU TO GROW INTO YOUR HIGHEST SELF. ”