By Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO, YMCA of Metro North
A statement in the aftermath of the mass murder at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

In the wake of two horrific mass shootings in one week, it is unfathomable to me that we still fail to stop the epidemic of gun violence in our nation.

As I reflect on the senseless murders of 19 children and 2 adults in Uvalde, Texas yesterday, my first thought is that we have failed our children. These beautiful children went to school yesterday hopeful for a day of learning and looking forward to the end of another school year. We did not protect them or the 18-year-old gunman who clearly did not have the support system he needed to overcome his personal anger and hate. When are we going to finally take action to protect our children from mass murders?

I am angry and fed up, but I refuse to give up. I will continue to fight for our children and for everyone who has been the victim of gun violence. I will ensure our organization continues to play a critical role in identifying troubled youth and breaking the cycle of hatred and violence that has become all too common. I will ensure our policies and procedures identify red flags and act when we see signs of trouble.

As a Y, protecting and nurturing young people is part of our mission. We serve hundreds of children each day. We are their mentors, colleagues, employers, coaches, and friends. We have the ability to influence change, and we must change. Please join me. It will take everyone speaking courageously and holding people accountable for too many senseless murders to ensure that change finally happens.

Hug your family today and pray for the families of all the victims of gun violence.