Throughout the past year, I have emailed you several times with a heavy heart about whichever has been the most recent mass shooting. I am devastated to write yet again—this time addressing the two acts of terror in El Paso and Dayton that took place within less than 24 hours of one another this past weekend. My sincerest condolences go out to all who were affected by such horrible acts.

When will enough be enough?

We know that there are so many implications about these tragedies regarding gun control, white supremacy, and hatred. We know that such senseless acts of violence are never justified. We know that this can’t keep happening. Enough is enough.

Enough of the families and friends mourning the unbearable loss of loved ones. Enough of people feeling unsafe in public. Enough accepting this as the norm.

The norm should be a world where no one lives in fear. The norm should be a world where we exist in community and embrace each other for our shared humanity, and the beauty of our diversity. The norm should be a world where people never think that taking lives is an option. Given the frequency of these attacks, I sometimes find myself paralyzed—knowing that something must be done, but having no idea where to start.

We start by taking it a day at a time, and making a regular habit of working tirelessly towards that north star of shared humanity. We drive the work by engaging in difficult conversations with each other about the virus of vitriol because attacks like this weekend are its symptoms. We do the hard mirror work of asking ourselves how we can be better with our own biases and our own behaviors, and we invite others into the same journey. We implement restorative practices of community-building and conflict resolution, as opposed to resorting to vengeance. We step outside of our own circles and settings to build community and connection with people who may be different from us.

More than anything, we never lose hope. We must never lose hope that tomorrow can be better than today. We must never lose hope that we can build an inclusive and loving world for everyone. We must never lose hope that love will always win.

Though I succumb to feelings of defeat in certain moments, my hope is restored about this world’s potential when I witness the power of community. Amidst this past weekend’s tragedies, I have seen an outpouring of compassion, outrage, solidarity, and truth-telling. I am reminded that we have everything we need to be the society that we envision, and I am committed to working towards that every day. Thank you for joining me on the journey.

In solidarity,

Whitney Parnell
CEO & Founder
Service Never Sleeps

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