The crowd grew quiet when Zion Kelly stepped up to the mic. Many of them knew what I didn’t: the high school student’s twin brother, Zaire, had been shot and killed last year on his way back to their home in the Brentwood neighborhood of northeast Washington, D.C.
Zion spoke about the reality he and his classmates face every day: the threat of violence and the pain of loss.
Another crowd hushed, too, as a public health worker, her voice cracking, detailed the scene of a suicide in a rural Utah town. They later listened as a young mother with three children spoke about wanting to protect her family in Salt Lake City by training with a firearm.
Three different people; three different communities; three different stories about the way guns touch their lives.
Too often today, gun issues are seen through the lens of a political horse race. More than a simplistic slogan about gun control or the Second Amendment, guns are central to many of the most important issues in our lives.
That’s why we launched Guns & America.
At Guns & America, a team of journalists will spend two years diving deep into some of the most divisive issues of our day. Based at public media stations, we’ll bring the same focus on accuracy and fairness you’ve come to trust. With reporters around the country, we’ll embed in different kinds of communities to bring a clearer picture of the issues.
Most importantly, we’ll use this two-year opportunity to examine gun issues in a human context. We want to illustrate the real-life impact of guns on our friends, neighbors and families and we want to understand more about what makes gun issues central to American life.
We’re funded by a generous grant from the Kendeda Fund, which creates an unprecedented investment into coverage of these vital issues. But we have created a strict editorial firewall. The editorial leadership at WAMU, Washington, D.C’s public radio station, is solely responsible for our journalism and as the lead station, WAMU hosts the editing team launching the project.
Our partner public media stations form the backbone of this collaboration, hosting a Reporting Fellow committed to telling important stories and convening important discussions in their communities.
Our Partner Stations
- WAMU in Washington, D.C.
- Boise State Public Radio in Boise, Idaho
- Connecticut Public Radio in Hartford, Connecticut
- ideastream in Cleveland, Ohio
- KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri
- KERA in Dallas, Texas
- KUNC in Greeley, Colorado
- North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- OPB in Portland, Oregon
- WABE in Atlanta, Georgia
Expect to hear us on your local public radio station and see our journalism online.
Have an idea for an issue we should cover? Send us an email.
We want to hear from you.
We’re excited to get started.
— Jeremy Bernfeld
Director, Guns & America