Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.

TOGETHER WE’LL END GUN VIOLENCE Everytown for Gun Safety
This project widened our empathy and understanding of the human impact of gun violence in our country. - Purpose Team
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?

Being a gun violence survivor is a way you live, not a discrete event or a trauma that you heal from and go back to life as it was before. Moments That Survive is a place for the survivors of gun violence to talk about the way they live now -- focusing on the habits, moments, and things that remind them that they are part of the survivor community. It is a place for survivors to see themselves in other people's stories and for nonsurvivors to glimpse the reality of how gun violence creates lasting impacts in many lives.

What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?

America’s gun death rate is 10x greater than peer countries, and roughly 44% of Americans know someone who has been shot with a gun. Despite the scale of gun violence in America, we often do not talk about the lifelong impacts of gun violence or have a dialogue that supports survivors who do speak out. Survivorship is misunderstood to the point that many gun violence survivors do not know they are part of this group.

 

Did your team have a breakthrough or “a-ha” moment while formulating or executing this project?

Initially we thought that talking about the scale of gun violence, or the negative impacts on individuals, would be motivating for more survivors to speak up. There are a lot of gun violence campaigns like these, that shock audiences with images, statistics, or stories. What we found in talking to the survivor community was that these campaigns feel like they are for non-survivors, or people who are unaware of the issue and need to be shocked. Focusing on life changes, habits, and ways of thinking was recognizable as "for survivors." Our "a-ha" moment was to focus on survivors' strength, rather than their trauma.

Once you settled on your idea, what was your first step in moving it forward?

We immediately began working with a "Survivor Council" -- a group of gun violence survivors with diverse experiences with gun violence -- to hear from them how we can best communicate specific aspects of the survivor community to a broader audience.

Was there a moment during the project where you ran into a hurdle; or faced a problem you didn’t know how to solve? Take us to this moment, what happened and what did you do next?

We needed to be very conscious of the potential for survivors sharing their stories to be the targets of online abuse. Originally, we thought that a mainly social campaign could involve the most people, but it also creates the greatest risk. Ultimately, we decided to keep the main story-sharing mechanism on the "Moments That Survive" website, and to allow users sharing stories to choose an anonymous name or username. This means that submissions are vetted, survivors are not targeted online, and attaching a story to your name is entirely optional.

Did the real-world impact meet your expectations? Can you share an example?

Definitely. People magazine featured the #MomentsThatSurvive campaign and shared survivor stories, shining a spotlight on the scale of gun violence survivorship in the U.S. and letting survivors know they’re not alone. We were proud to see the members of our survivor council, as well as many individual activists, electeds, and verifieds, sharing the campaign with their networks.

What technologies/media did you use to develop this project (AI, Social Media, WordPress, etc.)?

Social media, WordPress, AI, PS, Premiere, print, offline organizing, Eventbrite, and Google surveys.

Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?

It was. As mentioned in the challenges section, we wanted to create as safe a space as possible for survivors to share their stories, and that ended up being a website where submissions are reviewed and may be anonymized.

How did this project defy your expectations?

The amount of content, and the level of thoughtfulness and insight, far outstripped our normal expectations of UGC. The amount of conversation generated on social media and in earned media also outstripped our expectations. Also, the individuals who worked on this project found it incredibly meaningful -- we all learned a lot more than we expected to about the experience of American gun violence survivors. This project widened our empathy and understanding of the human impact of gun violence in our country.

How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?

We'll continue trying to build tech projects that are accessible to lots of people -- regardless of their age, tech habits, etc. We want to use tech to create meaningful, immersive experiences and communicate in new ways to everyone.

Credits

  • Ann Wright Everytown
  • Amy Stewart Everytown
  • Dina Dariotis Everytown
  • Vivian Eri Shibata Everytown
  • Minyong Cho Everytown
  • Alex Monroe Everytown
  • Chris Kocher Everytown
  • Rebecca Christopher Purpose
  • Betty Chan Purpose
  • Nadja Boncoeur-Creavalle Purpose
  • Steven Bazarian Purpose
  • Jessica McGhee Purpose
  • Colin Quinn Purpose
  • Matt Lima Purpose
  • Lauren Ewings Purpose
  • Emma McDonald Purpose
  • Anne Keenan Purpose
  • Genesis Henriquez Purpose
  • Savannah O'Leary Purpose
  • Molly Cihak Purpose
  • Jessica Somerhausen Purpose
  • Ida Iwoldemichael Everytown

About the Activism category

Sites facilitating political change, social movement, human rights, public education and reform, or revolution.