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Panel discussion to focus on confronting gun violence

A sign outside the First United Church of Tampa tracks daily the number of lives lost to gun deaths since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in Newtown, Conn. Since this photo was taken last month, the number has climbed to more than 148,000.

Courtesy of the First United Church of Tampa

A sign outside the First United Church of Tampa tracks daily the number of lives lost to gun deaths since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in Newtown, Conn. Since this photo was taken last month, the number has climbed to more than 148,000.

A sign tallying gun related deaths in the United States stands outside First United Church of Tampa.

The number, which changes daily, tracks lives lost since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in Newtown, Conn.

As of Feb. 5, it reached 148, 178.

Reports indicate more than 1,500 deaths just in 2017, according to gunviolencearchives.org.

On Feb. 12, the League of Women Voters of Florida will present the documentary film Newtown, followed by a panel discussion, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa, 11400 Morris Bridge Road.

The panel will consist of Thomas Gabor, author of Confronting Gun Violence in America, pediatric surgeon Dr. Marc Levy, Patti Brigham, chairman for the League of Women Voters Gun Safety Action Committee and Kathleen McGrory, health reporter for the Tampa Bay Times.

The group will address the effects of gun violence on public health.

Tickets are available for the free event at bit.ly/2iYSaWy.

Hillsborough County churches such as FUCT, located on Fowler Ave., and UUCT strive to spread awareness about the dangers of firearms. Representatives from both churches will attend the Newtown panel discussion.

In an email, Rev. Patricia Owen, minister at the UUCT, shared her thoughts on the role of churches and other religious organizations in reducing gun violence.

Simply put we want the world to be healed but we rarely can agree on the course of action to bring about the cure. Fixing this will be work we must be committed to passing on to generations who follow in our footsteps.

Fixing this requires a deepening awareness of the impact that economics and poverty play in creating despair and desperation in communities that we so often wish would just disappear.

Fixing this requires that we get real about race, systemic racism and the perpetuation of myths around black-on-black crime, the utter absurdity present in a system so broken it cannot place guilt on those sworn to uphold law who behave lawlessly.

Understanding this requires that we admit we have not yet created a culture that fully engages in conversations around mental health. Stigmatization remains. Shame remains. In a world that demands perfection there is little room, with horrendous consequences, for anything other than an unrealistic level of performance.

We must admit our own role in creating this world and refuse to perpetuate it.

For more information on activism efforts visit uutampa.org and ucctampa.org.

Contact Sarah Whitman at [email protected]

Hyde Park United Methodist Church will welcome Rev. Gary Mason who works as a clergyman in Northern Ireland to speak at 8:39, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Feb. 19 at the Hyde Park main campus, 500 W Platt St., and at 5:30 p.m. at the Portico campus, 1001 N Florida Ave. Mason is a peace negotiator in the Northern Ireland religious conflicts. His topic will be finding hope and reconciliation. For more information on this free event, visit hydeparkumc.org.

United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, will screen the movie God's Not Dead 2 at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 10. The event is free and open to the public. The church will serve popcorn and light refreshments. For more information on these and other events, visit sccumc.com.

New Tampa Women's Connection will meet for prayer from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Feb. 14 at Bob Evans, 16314 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. The group will host its February luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 21 at Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club, 5811 Tampa Palms Blvd. Cia McCoy and Nancy Unsworth will share their story of a wacky friendship and dramatic makeover. Cost to attend is $20. To reserve your seat by Feb. 16, call (813) 972-0637 or email [email protected] Space is limited.

Panel discussion to focus on confronting gun violence 02/08/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 5:03pm]
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