One Person Can Make A Difference

I choose to believe that I can make a difference. I choose to believe that working with others whose passions I share can change the course of events. I choose to believe that each of us reaches a line where we must be willing to act. Once the ine is crossed, we recognize that acting is the only way we can find peace within ourselves.

Not everyone wants to or can carry a placard and march around a specified site. Not everyone can go to Washington or visit the local offices of elected officials. Not everyone can write editorials or organize events. But everyone can send an email or make a phone call. The time involved is less than a minute, but the satisfaction of sending the email or calling the office is lasting.

An easy place where we can speak out loudly and often is at Starbucks. Many groups involved in gun violence prevention have been trying to ask the company to change its policy about carrying guns. Once the company made a no-smoking policy in stores and within a specified number of feet of their entrance, even in states where there is no smoking ban, it appeared that the company could easily apply the same prohibition to loaded guns. No luck. You can be in a Starbucks with your friends and family, and the person in line next to you is carrying a weapon. As a result, Friday, August 9 was declared Starbucks Appreciation Day by the nation's gun rights groups. These gun rights advocates planned to show up packing heat to show teir appreciation to Starbucks for its policies allowing loaded guns in their stores in states whose laws permit open carry.

According to a company spokesman, "Our stores are gathering places for the communities we serve. We respect the diversty of our customers. We realize there are deep-standing passions on gun ownership. We abide by the laws that permit open carry. However, where those laws do not exist, open carry in Starbucks is prohibited.... We encourage both customers and advocacy groups on both sides to share their input with their public officials. We are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society, and we believe by supporting local laws is the best way for us to provide a safe environment for both our partners and customers."

Now is the time. Write and call the national headquarters. Go into your local Starbucks and tell them that it is time to make you safe. You can go a step further and buy your coffee fix where they ban guns, like Peets. Now is the time. This may be the first step where you can act to make this a better world. Your voices, your action can change the dynamic. Please support JAC and work with us to make this world a better place for all.

Gail Yamner
Immediate Past President, JACPAC