live / 2014

The TALK Project

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Women Against Gun Violence

Let's turn the uncomfortable topic of gun violence and gun safety into every day conversation to protect our children and our community.


Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

WAGV educates the public, policy makers and the media about the human, financial and public health consequences of gun violence.

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South Bay
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

The TALK Project puts life-saving information in the hands of over 500,000 Southern California elementary school families—printed materials available in Spanish and English and even Korean that help parents and caregivers TALK with their children about guns and, importantly, help parents and caregivers talk with their friends, neighbors, and family about guns and safe gun storage. Free gun locks are also distributed upon request by returning a postcard included with TALK materials.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

We have already implemented this project in some school districts in Los Angeles County. We work with school district officials to gain permission to distribute materials to elementary school children. Our brochures and reply cards are given to the schools and sent home with children with a plan to have the children’s caregivers learn about gun safety and how to TALK about it. We are putting together a coalition of funders to support the project in specific school districts. We have approval of Long Beach Unified, LAUSD and backing of the City of Los Angeles in addition to lawmakers and law enforcement. We just need the financial backing to get the lifesaving materials in place.

How will your idea/project help make LA the healthiest place to LIVE today? In 2050?

Programs like this work! The evidence is clear and substantial: public education campaigns, such as those for seat belt use and anti-smoking, resulted in significant behavioral change. We believe that The Talk Project will produce the same life-saving results! Here are some interesting facts we include in our TALK brochure from a few studies conducted regarding guns: In 2013, in the United States, more than 5 children a month under the age of 12 – more than 1 a week – were killed at a family member’s home or at a friend’s home by guns that were improperly stored and secured. Research shows that storing guns locked and unloaded reduces the risk of both injuries and suicide by about 70%. – Journal of the American Medical Association (2005) The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the safest home for a family is a home without guns. If there is a gun in the home, the gun should be stored unloaded and locked, with ammunition stored separately. – American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Firearm-Related Injuries in the Pediatric Population (October 2012) 22% of children who live in a house with a gun handled a gun without their parents’ knowledge. – Misperceptions about Children and Firearms, Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine (2006) Half of all unintentional shooting deaths among children occur at home, and almost half occur in the home of a friend or relative. – Unintentional firearm deaths: a comparison of other-inflicted and self-inflicted shootings. Accident Analysis and Prevention (2010). WAGV not only intends to open an affirmative dialogue about guns and gun safety where proactive and preventative discussions did not exist, we expect to save lives as a result of this campaign. According to LA County Public Health, firearms-related deaths in our county are higher than the national average.

Whom will your project benefit?

In order to reap the benefits of other healthy activities, we must work on TALKing about guns to ensure our community is healthy today and in the future. Research has shown that we must reach children when they are still in elementary school to be able to make change happen. Our education and safety campaign will enable us to assist in opening a dialogue about guns where one does not exist. Our specific audience will be caregivers of young children to help them learn about protecting the children in their care.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

So far, we have collaborated with All Saints Church in Pasadena to launch our campaign in Pasadena schools. They provided the funding to make this happen as well as opening a door to the school district. We have worked with All Saints for 20 years and their partnership has been invaluable.

Occidental Entertainment Group Holdings is a new partnership formed in 2014. They have provided financial support to distribute materials in school districts in Santa Monica, Malibu and Las Virgenes. They will continue to support WAGV’s efforts by introducing us to new potential funders and to reach additional school districts.

We have the support and endorsement of is endorsed by Senator Dianne Feinstein; LA Chief of Police Beck; LA City Councilmembers Krekorian and Koretz; LA City Attorney Feuer; LA County Sheriff Baca, Burbank Chief of Police LaChasse; Dr. Walsh, Director of Public Health for the City of Pasadena; John Torres, former Deputy Assistant Director for the ATF; and Jack Scott, educator and former California legislator.

We are currently seeking support for distribution in Long Beach, Compton, Inglewood, LAUSD, Burbank, and Glendale. These relationships are critical to providing financial support to create the materials and to distribute them; each collaborator uses their unique relationships to leverage connections with appropriate personnel in positions of decision-making; and each collaboration validates the need for the TALK Project.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Live” metrics?

  • Prevalence of adverse childhood experience (Dream Metric)
  • Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)
  • Rate of gun violence and accidental death as a result of unsecured firearms.

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

Our project will keep kids safe, so they can have positive childhood experiences, free of firearms accidents; the project will strengthen communities with open discussions about guns and gun safety; and our project will reduce the rate of gun violence and accidental deaths as a result of unsecured firearms in LA County.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

Our evaluation will be on-going as this is a new project that will take time to be able to accurately measure outcomes.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

The most important lesson that resonates with us is that accidental firearm deaths are avoidable. In order to avoid the accidents, we must be open to conversation.

Another important lesson we have learned is that we cannot achieve our goal of reaching all families of elementary age children in LA County alone. We must have collaborators who open doors and provide financial backing to undertake such a major endeavor.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

We know it is achievable because we have already implemented it!

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

The first major challenge we face is finding sufficient resources to create and distribute materials to such a large group. We are working nonstop to secure new partners in this endeavor.

Another major challenge we have is to differentiate ourselves as an organization and the TALK Project from other national campaigns by other well funded organizations. Our project was first, it is local and has a unique approach.

What resources does your project need?

  • Network/relationship support
  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)