We’ve all been there — frustrated that things aren’t happening fast enough when it comes to gun violence prevention (GVP). But the recent announcement from the Kroger Family of Companies reminded me that while things might not be happening overnight, they are happening. Activism is a marathon, not a sprint.

Back in 2014, Moms Demand Action began the #GroceriesNotGuns push, focusing on Kroger and requesting that they prohibit open carry inside their stores. At the time, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, stated, “When state laws don’t protect children and families, it’s up to businesses that depend heavily on female clientele to put policies in place that protect them on their private property.”

The campaign has continued for five years. Moms volunteers pressured the retailer to step up, even submitting a petition with more than 300,000 signatures calling for Kroger to prohibit open carry in the 45 states where it’s legal. Finally, on September 3, 2019, the nation’s two largest retailers, Kroger and Walmart, officially joined the growing list of companies asking shoppers not to openly carry guns in any of their stores.

Things got even more interesting nine days later when the CEOs of 145 U.S. companies sent a letter to Senate leaders, publicly urging them to act on gun violence and saying that “doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable.” The list included the heads of major retailers, tech companies and household brands like Levi Strauss, Twitter, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Yelp and Bain Capital. In the letter, the CEOs pointed to mass shootings, including those in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. But they also called out the broader epidemic of gun violence that kills 100 Americans each day and wounds hundreds more. As Watts observed, “If this many major brands can act, surely the Senate can, too.”

The GVP push can be exhausting, and there are days that we certainly feel our resolve tested. But wins like these remind us that while this is indeed a marathon, there are milestones we can celebrate. We are in training for this marathon and while we may experience some hills and some valleys along the way, we plan to be here for every single mile.

Jill Marr is a life-long resident of San Diego, a graduate of SDSU and the local Communications Lead for SD4GVP and Moms Demand Action.

photo credit: Phil Roeder (CC BY 2.0)

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