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Gun Violence And Waking Up From A U.S. ‘Nightmare’

On the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance 2022, a day to honor the memory of transgender people who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence, a man wielding an AR-15 style rifle attacked an L.G.B.T.Q. nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA called Club Q.

Five human beings were murdered, over 25 souls were injured, and countless others are now experiencing emotional trauma.

At the time of this writing in late November 2022, this was the 662nd mass shooting incident to take place in 2022 in the United States. This number is only part of the 39,461 people who have died this year due to gun violence.

As Childish Gambino put it plainly, “This Is America.”

In July 2022, I attended the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France where I learned about the nonprofit Change The Ref, created by Manuel and Patricia Oliver and their son, Joaquin Oliver. Joaquin (affectionately known as Guac), was shot and killed on Valentine’s Day, 2018 “in a hallway outside of his creative writing class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.”

Joaquin was one of 17 people who were murdered and 17 more who were physically injured. Emotionally, the injuries persist indefinitely.

Today, the Oliver family has a message for everyone who will listen: gun violence must end, now.


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