Katie Graubart ’21 Creates a Documentary Film about Gun Violence in America

My name is Katie Graubart, and I am a classics major in the Skidmore College class of 2021, and I was inspired to create a documentary film about the movement against gun violence that is currently taking place in America.

I was raised in a family of advocates- both my parents being incredibly outspoken about injustices facing the world. Over the past year, my father specifically got involved in the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, participating so much as to become a co-lead of the Westchester, NY branch of the group.

Moms Demand was created by Shannon Watts via FaceBook in order to unite mothers after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook. Over the past 6 years, Moms Demand has grown into a national grassroots organization with branches in all 50 states. I’ve been lucky enough to march with my family with Moms Demand multiple times over the past few years, making connections in New York City, Westchester, and Albany. More information about the organization can be found on their website, https://momsdemandaction.org/ .

Nearly my entire life I’ve known that I wanted to direct films. However, until recently, I found it difficult to blend my passions for justice with my creativity. Soon after the tragedy in Parkland, I realized just how I could use my skills and passions to make a difference. By creating a documentary film about the issues at hand regarding gun violence, I realized that I could help educate people about gun violence through entertainment.

So far, I have spoken to survivors of gun violence, including mothers who lost their sons, siblings who lost their brother, survivors of the Virginia Tech Massacre in 2007, and survivors of every day gun violence that faces America. I have also interviewed Shannon Watts, among other advocates, and am scheduled to meet with advocates from Gays Against Guns, the Brady Campaign, and just this week I have a scheduled interview with New York State Senator Shelley Mayer. I even got to march (and film) the Moms Demand Action-Youth Over Guns co-sponsored Wear Orange March across the Brooklyn Bridge in June, meeting incredible advocates and survivors who shared their stories with the world with pride.

My main focus in this documentary is how the youth are changing the movement against gun violence, specifically after the shooting in Parkland this past February. Young people- especially high school & college students have come out and been very outspoken about fixing the problems with gun violence, such as the background check loopholes as well as implementing common sense gun laws with the intense increase in school shootings across this country. School is no longer a safe place for children, and to many young people, it seems to be only we understand how corrupt and terrifying that is. We believe that graduation shouldn’t be a question of survival, and I plan to get that message across loud and clear in my film.

This documentary has given me the opportunity to connect with so many phenomenal people whom I admire greatly, and I can’t wait to see where else it brings me.

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