5 years ago, an angry man with a gun killed her son. Here's her message to the NRA.

I asked Lucy McBath to tell me about her son, Jordan Davis. She welcomed the opportunity.

"Thank you for asking," she says. "Some people say 'Oh, I'm afraid to ask,' I'm like 'No, ask me about him.' It helps keep him alive for me."

Jordan was a really, good kid — thoughtful and kind. Raised mostly by McBath in Atlanta, he made friends easily, and invited them over to his house for home-cooked meals and sleepovers.

"He was the kind of kid that would bring people together. He was really, really good at that," she says. "He was really good at being the center of attention, like the light."

Jordan was curious and inquisitive. He enjoyed learning about history, social sciences, and other cultures. As a child, he once spent a year pretending he could speak Japanese.

That's the son McBath remembers.

"He had all kinds of friends. I was very proud of that, that he had that kind of ability to love people. Simply love people for who they were."






Photo via Lucy McBath, used with permission.

Jordan Davis was shot and killed on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Jacksonville, Florida.

It was the day after Thanksgiving. Jordan, 17, was in an SUV with three friends, picking up snacks and cigarettes from a gas station convenience store. Michael David Dunn and his girlfriend were in town for a wedding and pulled into the next parking space. Dunn told the boys to turn down their music. After a shouting match with Jordan, Dunn alleged that Jordan opened the door of the SUV and pointed a shotgun in his direction. Dunn took a handgun out of his glove box and started shooting into the SUV.

Tommie, the driver and Jordan's friend, floored the SUV backward, fleeing the gunfire. Dunn opened his door one more time to get a few more shots off. He later told police he feared for his life, though police never found a shotgun in or around the SUV, and witnesses never saw one.

In the aftermath, Dunn sped away to his hotel. The boys pulled into a nearby shopping center to assess the damage. Three of them were physically unscathed but covered in blood. Jordan was hit three times. He gasped for air and died shortly after. Dunn and his girlfriend didn't call the police. In fact, they made drinks and ordered a pizza.

McBath was in Chicago with her family for Thanksgiving while Jordan had stayed with his father in Jacksonville. The night of the shooting, McBath felt compelled to slip away from the table and go to the bedroom.

"I had no reason to go to the bedroom," she says. "When I got up there, I saw Jordan's father's face on the phone as the phone was lighting up, and that was the first phone call that I got."

At that moment, a cruel, indelible line etched itself on her life — before Jordan's death and after.

‌Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, cries during a Hillary Clinton for South Carolina Breaking Down Barriers forum. Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images. ‌

During his trial, Dunn cited the language of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

Florida and 23 other states allow individuals to use deadly force to defend or protect themselves against real or perceived threats. Stand Your Ground laws made the headlines in 2012 when another Florida man, George Zimmerman, "stood his ground" against Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old kid holding an iced tea and Skittles. Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon and, after a well-publicized trial, walked away a free man.

George Zimmerman leaves the courtroom a free man after being found not guilty. Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images. ‌

Dunn, however, was convicted of attempted murder for shooting at the other boys in the car. After a mistrial and retrial, nearly two years after the shooting, Dunn was convicted of the murder of Jordan Davis. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"We are very grateful that justice has been served, justice not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon (Martin) and justice for all the nameless, faceless children and people that will never have a voice," McBath told the press after Dunn's retrial.

Since Jordan's murder, McBath has worked tirelessly for gun violence prevention.

Just months after the shooting, McBath was asked to speak about "Stand Your Ground" legislation in Georgia. One opportunity led to another, and before long, she was approached by the gun violence prevention advocacy group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to become their volunteer national spokesperson.

‌Lucy McBath testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Stand Your Ground" laws in Washington, D.C. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images. ‌

Moms Demand Action was formed by a stay-at-home mom one day after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The group now has more than 60,000 volunteers in all 50 states and 4 million supporters working to  advance real policy changes at the municipal, state, and national levels.

"We are the largest nonpartisan gun violence prevention organization in the country," McBath says. "We have helped pass background checks on all gun sales in seven states. We have passed laws in 24 states to prevent domestic abusers from getting guns."

McBath is now on staff for Moms Demand Action, working to engage people of color, faith communities, and other traditionally underrepresented groups in the gun violence prevention conversation. The fight is hard, but each victory feels good and keeps her close to her son.



But as many victories McBath has had as a gun violence prevention advocate, there's still one outstanding: speaking directly to NRA leadership.

While the opportunity to speak with the lobby's executives hasn't presented itself, McBath knows just what she'll say. It's clearly written on her heart and pours out of her effortlessly, filled with fire and vigor.  (Emphasis added.)

"I would say to them, they have placed profit over public safety. That they have had their hands in the back pockets of our legislators, and that we are no longer going to allow them to do that. ... We understand what they're doing and we will continue to fight them tooth and nail. They might be a Goliath, but we are the David and we will continue to challenge them every moment we get. ... We will empower citizens as to the truth of what they're doing. And we will continue to protect our families and our communities against their extremist agenda of guns everywhere, every place, no questions asked. We are not afraid of them. And we will continue to build our army in opposition to their extremist agenda. And they can count on that."

Her words ring out like a rallying cry. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, gun violence is infecting our communities. And it must stop.

Lucy McBath (right) delivers remarks as Geneva Reed-Veal (center), mother of Sandra Bland; Gwen Carr (second from left), mother of Eric Garner; and Annette Nance-Holt (left), mother of Blair Holt look on during the second day of the Democratic National Convention. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.‌

Lucy McBath can't bring her son back. But sharing his story and fighting for common sense reforms could save someone else's.

And through her advocacy work, Jordan's legacy lives on in safer schools, communities, and public spaces. His is a light that will never go out.

‌Photo via Lucy McBath, used with permission.

"He was a really good, kid."

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."