Michigan State University shooting

United Way for Southeastern Michigan staff had planned to spend Valentine’s Day in Lansing celebrating our 2-1-1 helpline with legislators. Instead, we are spending the day mourning another horrific act of gun violence. We are devastated to learn of the lives taken during last night’s shooting at Michigan State University, and our hearts are with their families as we also pray for healing for those injured.

Our sorrow is matched only by the outrage we feel to be here yet again — at our continued collective unwillingness to fix a system that allows our young people to be terrified, shot and killed with no meaningful action to reduce the staggering frequency of these tragedies. In my former role as a school district superintendent, this is what would keep me up at night. It is unacceptable that any students in our communities go to school in the morning and do not return home at night to their families. It is unacceptable that any students fear for their lives while they are trying to learn. Words cannot express the extent to which we have failed them and the countless others who have been directly impacted by gun violence.

While we mourn the victims, grieve with the families suffering this unfathomable loss, and wrap our arms around all our brothers and sisters in East Lansing, United Way for Southeastern Michigan stands with the overwhelming majority of our community members and partners in recognizing that the policy of doing nothing is doing just that: nothing. The time for us to come together and take real action is now.