Board and Staff

As part of our 25th Anniversary celebration, meet some of our Board Members & Staff:

Jerry, a founding board member.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?
I had worked in gun violence prevention in California in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. When John Rosenthal began SHV in 1994 it was an easy transition.

Having hunted in New Hampshire and Canada as a youth, I had knowledge of firearms and gun safety. It was obvious to me that the evolution of the gun culture to military-style firearms with large capacity magazines was in no way a second amendment right. The NRA had simply evolved from a gun safety promoter and habitat protection advocate to the “Madison Avenue” of the gun industry convincing legal citizens to arm themselves against criminals armed by NRA endorsed legislation.

What is your most memorable Gun Violence Prevention event?
The Million Mom March in D.C. was definitely memorable. I remember walking with Hillary Clinton for a couple of miles; I got to speak with her a bit and was really impressed.

Has gun violence personally impacted you?
My nephew; a very sweet, talented, gentle guy working for the TSA, and a father of 3 young girls; came home, upset at something and shot himself in the head with his family present.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Shogun sushi restaurant in Newton!

Fun Fact:
I read a story about a blue whale carcass coming ashore at Vandenberg Air Force base. It was below a 90 foot cliff in a restricted area but I just had to try and recover it for display. I organized a group from San Luis Obispo and called Dr. Chuck Woodhouse in Santa Barbara who put together more volunteers, got some people to donate winches and a crane and got approval from the Air Force. We worked for 3 months in the waves cutting off meat from the bones and hauling them up the cliff one at a time. The upper skull alone weighed 2 1/2 tons! So, If you are ever at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History check out the skeleton of the 72 foot blue whale, the largest, most complete one in the world!

Kevin, a board member since 2003.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

Concern regarding gun violence in our country. In 2003, gun violence in various Boston neighborhoods was very troubling. I was aware of SHV through John Rosenthal who I knew through a business relationship and asked to join the board. I wanted to be involved in a volunteer activity working to address a community issue.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?

When I first joined, John invited people from Boston’s inner city to a board meeting and it was alarming to hear about the gun violence in Boston neighborhoods. The Concert Across America  was the most significant fundraising event.

How as gun violence personally impacted you?

Having recently relocated to California for work, it is evident that gun violence is a major issue in this state. Just this weekend a police officer killed and a shooting at a festival!

What is your favorite Massachusetts destination? Home in Orleans – place to relax and enjoy the peacefulness of Nauset Beach.

ANNE, AN ACTIVE BOARD MEMBER SINCE 2015.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?
It’s so disturbing that the number of deaths due to gun violence continues to rise daily. I felt compelled to use my design talent to bring awareness to this epidemic and volunteer my time to advocate for stronger gun legislation.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?
I have 2 most memorable events!

The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence in NYC at the Beacon Theatre

Visiting the White House to meet with Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to
President Barack Obama.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Green Harbor, Marshfield MA

Fun fact: Avid art collector

LISA, WHO RECENTLY JOINED AS A BOARD MEMBER THIS YEAR.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

Working in my previous position with Slowey/McManus Communications on SHV projects, I have seen firsthand the organization’s dedication to its vital mission, and its effectiveness. In that time – just a few short years – the frequency of gun violence has escalated at a frightening pace. It’s unacceptable and preventable. SHV is right to hold our national leaders’ feet to the fire on this and I’m proud to support it.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence campaign?

The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Toss up between Fenway Park and Crane Beach!

Fun fact: I have met (and interviewed!) Jane Goodall.

BEN, A BOARD MEMBER FOR 9 YEARS.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

Our National gun policies and the horrific and senseless loss of life that results is a tragic disgrace. SHV plays an essential role in reducing gun violence by advocating for change at the National level and ensuring Massachusetts continues to be a model for the nation in gun violence prevention.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?  

The unveiling of the Joaquin Oliver Billboard.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination?  Boston

GAIL, OUR NEWEST BOARD MEMBER WHO JOINED IN JULY 2019.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?
I have been volunteering with SHV for a year, and the mission aligns with my beliefs. Having become so involved in the activist side I realized I’d also like to take part in decision making and ideas.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?
I volunteered for the entire weekend Student Summit. I love working with young people so this event was perfect!

Has gun violence personally impacted you?
Yes. In 1994 I worked at Planned Parenthood in Brookline. My dear friend and Co-worker, Shannon Lowney, was murdered and others were injured. Fridays were my day off so I wasn’t there that day. Shannon was a bright light and is sorely missed.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Fenway Park

Fun fact: I used to be a college DJ and then hosted a cable TV show a few years ago, called GailForce.

MB, AN ACTIVE BOARD MEMBER FOR 4 YEARS.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?
“Mom do you think that I could get shot at my school?” Grace Jarosik, 5th grade, 2015.

I joined Stop Hand Gun Violence to volunteer in every way possible to promote gun safety and prevent ever having to hear this question again.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?
50 Miles More March. Uniting with the marchers to dedicate that day for a victim of gun violence [Day 3 from Wilbraham to Springfield].

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Coffin Beach, Wingaersheek, MA. The Caribbean of the north shore.

Fun fact: For the past 18 years I flew to Austin, Texas on my birthday to buy a pair of cowboy boots.

KYLE JOINED THE BOARD IN 2015.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

My father, Michael Kennedy, and John Rosenthal started SHV 25 years ago with the pioneering goal of changing Massachusetts gun laws and culture so that real change could begin. My involvement with SHV and the movement in general reflects my family’s commitment to reducing the senseless gun violence that pervades our society, and I’m proud to carry on that legacy.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?

I loved celebrating the 20th anniversary 5 years ago. My father was an honoree, and I had the privilege to accept the award on his behalf. I’m looking forward to celebrating the 25th!

Has gun violence personally impacted you?
My grandfather, Robert F Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968 while running for president by a man carrying a revolver. Because of this tragedy, my family has been committed to working to end gun violence and work towards peace.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? My family and I love vacationing on Nantucket island.

Fun fact: I ran the Boston Marathon this year!

MATT, A VETERAN BOARD MEMBER SINCE 1995.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?
Without a focused, organized group of citizens offering a platform, it seems common sense was in danger of being lost.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence campaign?
Meeting the mothers of the kids featured on the first billboard.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Ballston Beach in Truro

Fun fact: My wife of 22 years was the first executive director of Stop Handgun Violence.

MELISSA, A BOARD MEMBER FOR 3 YEARS.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?
Because gun violence is a pervasive issue in communities across our country… and thoughts and prayers are no longer enough.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?
50 Miles More Massachusetts–it was incredibly powerful to see and hear from students who are so passionate about this cause and have enough of gun violence being status quo in their lives. These young adults are the future of our country and the future of this movement. Completely inspiring!

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Any beach… be it Carson Beach in Southie or White Horse in Plymouth, love ’em all.

Fun fact: I love endurance-based physical activities like triathlons, century rides, etc.

OEDIPUS, A FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER.

How many years have you served on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

Since its inception [1994].

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

Common sense to curb gun violence, a national health emergency.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence campaign?

Creating a CD while programming WBCN that raised over $200K for SHV. Also, the walk from sportscaster extraordinaire Bob Lobel’s house to mine to raise awareness about SHV and sensible gun laws.

Has gun violence personally impacted you? I prefer to live abroad where it is safer.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Logan

MATT, A BOARD MEMBER FOR OVER 10 YEARS.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

John asked –  I also grew up in a poor tough blue collar neighborhood and understand the importance of addressing this issue.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?

Concerts Across America

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination?  Nantucket

Fun fact: I’m old, fat, and boring.

 

VIKIANA, OUR FIRST STUDENT BOARD MEMBER.

 

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

We need more young people to be at tables like this to hold everyone accountable. I’m glad to represent March For Our Lives on the board as SHV becomes the fiscal sponsor for the Massachusetts chapters.

What is your most memorable SHV event or campaign?
What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? 
Boston Public Gardens
Fun Fact? I cooked a burger by myself for the first time this year!

Barbara, a founding board member.

 

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?
In the mid ‘90s Boston and many other communities were experiencing a huge increase in gun violence. It was a growing problem and an issue that both John Rosenthal and I felt passionate about. We wanted to create awareness of the danger of handguns in our communities and also drive policy advocacy.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?
Most memorable event for me was the unveiling of the very first SHV billboard.

Has gun violence personally impacted you?

No, but we cannot wait to be personally impacted by gun violence to take a stand and demand action on an issue that has affected millions of other Americans.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Ballston Beach, Truro

Fun fact: I have amazing “Parking Karma”. First discovered when I drove from Providence, RI to in Bethel, NY to attend “Woodstock” (Yes, that Woodstock!). I got a great parking space ¼ mile from the entrance to the music festival.

DAVID, SERVING AS A BOARD MEMBER FOR OVER 20 YEARS.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

We were working on the gun issue through Join Together and SHV provided a way for me to be directly involved at the State and local level.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event? The March for Our Lives.

Fun fact: I wrote and published one of the first books–The Election Men–about the emergence of the professional campaign management business–and predicted its negative impact on American democracy.

 

John, co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence.

Why did you start Stop Handgun Violence?

I founded Stop Handgun Violence with the late Michael Kennedy, at a time when the Massachusetts arm of the National Rifle Association dominated public opinion and state legislative policy on an individual’s right to own a gun. We used our combined professional and personal background and resources to change the historically polarized gun debate and fuel our political advocacy strategy.

As a grassroots community organizer and businessperson in the real estateindustry, and co-founder of several nonprofit organizations including— Friends of Boston’s Homeless and Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative— I have learned firsthand the unique effectiveness that Businesspeople can bring to public policy. Businesspeople have inordinate influence, access, resources and power to solve problems. When combined with community organizing and a sincere concern for social justice, businesspeople can help communities and elected leaders to dramatically solve seemingly intractable problems and change greed based bad public policy and bad public health outcomes into good public policy and good public health outcomes.

What are your most memorable social justice campaigns?

I spent my twenties as an environmental community organizer for safe energy and against nuclear power and weapons. I was a lead organizer against the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant in California and helped organize the largest protest in history at a US nuclear plant. Between 1977 and 1983 I spent over three and half months in jail for nonviolent civil disobedience at nuclear power and weapons facilities. In 1977, there were 1,000 nuclear plants planned by the year 2,000. Today, there are 90 nuclear plants and dropping every year because of the effectiveness of the environmental/antinuclear movement.

In 1995 as a businessperson, gun owner and co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence, I built a massive billboard on a parking garage along the Mass Pike near Fenway Park, with gun violence prevention messages such as “Assault weapons have stopping power. Fortunately, so does your vote.” During the 20 years that the billboard was there it was viewed by millions of commuters and tourists, elected officials, candidates and even President Clinton and VP President Al Gore quoted our provocative messages. Our current billboard, positioned in a prime location on Boylston Street near the Prudential Center, is designed by Manuel Oliver who’s son was tragically killed in Parkland, Florida.

In 2015 I co-founded the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiativewhich provides law enforcement based access to treatment and recovery services for anyone with the disease of opioid addiction. To date PAARI has grown to include over 470 police departments in 33 states, helped change the national conversation around the opioid epidemic and enact state and national legislation and secure millions of dollars in funding and place over 22,000 people into treatment and recovery programs.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? The North Shore and everywhere off the coast on my sailboat named ONWARD.

Fun fact: Nature is my religion and I love to bike, ski, sail, hike, play tennis and do just about anything outside.

STEVE, A SENIOR BOARD MEMBER FOR 15 YEARS.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

Because John has led the fight for common sense gun reform.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?

[At the billboard unveiling] Seeing the Parkland parents immigrating from Columbia to give their son a better life, only to see him gunned down in his school.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Chatham Bars Inn with child. Before it was The Vineyard.

Fun fact: Old guy with a 3 year old.

DOMINIC, A CONTRIBUTING BOARD MEMBER FOR 2 YEARS.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?

We support the work this organization has done over the past 25 years to make Massachusetts a model of how a state can have sensible gun laws and still support the Second Amendment.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?
Definitely the student-led march from Worcester to Springfield that we supported. Amazing to see the next generation of leaders committed to advocating for change.

Has gun violence personally impacted you? Only from afar.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Martha’s Vineyard

Fun fact: Music and sports fanatic and political junkie. Got started at an early age protesting the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon – I was 9 – and listening to protest music of the 60’s and early 70’s. I guess that drive never left me.

JORDAN, A SENIOR BOARD MEMBER FOR 22 YEARS.

Why did you choose to serve on the Stop Handgun Violence Board?
I was a graduate student at the time of the Stockton, CA schoolyard shooting, which prompted me to do a year-long study of American gun violence and gun laws. My study convinced me that the problem was a uniquely American one due to lack of political will to address the issue, and have involved with advocacy organizations, first in Pennsylvania and then with SHV, since.
What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence campaign?
The series of Mass Turnpike billboards. The power and reach of the messages – each message letting thousands of people each day know everything from gun violence statistics to the faces of some of those who have senselessly lost their lives.
Has gun violence personally impacted you?
While not directly relevant to American gun violence, my high school best friend was killed at age 21 in a terrorist shooting in a European airport, so each time I hear of another shooting, another promising life ended too young, it bring’s John’s shooting death back to me.
What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? Hale Reservation!
Fun fact: I’m an incredibly mediocre drummer who some day will drop my day job and join an incredibly mediocre band.

SONYA,  A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER.

When did you get involved in gun violence prevention (GVP)?

I became an activist for GVP after the Sandy Hook mass shooting.

I quickly learned that our weak gun laws allowed easy access to those who shouldn’t have them. Remaining on the sidelines on this issue was no longer an option and I continue to do whatever I can to advocate for stronger gun laws.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?

Hands down, 50 Miles More-Massachusetts. Helping to organize this protest march with students and SHV was the MOST rewarding volunteer action in my activist life (so far)! Plus, witnessing first-hand the dedication and resolve of youth leaders was truly an inspiration for me. It’s definitely a positive shift for the GVP movement.

What’s your favorite Massachusetts destination? The Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston.

Fun fact: Rode 4 days on horseback into the Outback of New South Wales, Australia.

KATE, SOCIAL MEDIA WHIZ FOR SHV.

What is your most memorable Stop Handgun Violence event?

The GVP Student Summit. It was an absolute privilege to get to know exceptional students, and member of the Massachusetts GVP community who attended the two day event. The leadership we are seeing by young people today will change the world.

Your favorite MA destination?  I’m a huge fan of Halloween, so of course it’s Salem!
Fun Fact? I worked as a chef in Sharon Massachusetts in the early 2000’s and got to cook for Bill Belichick and the rookie Tom Brady!

ZOE, SHV EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SINCE 2013.

Why did you join Stop Handgun Violence?

During law school, I volunteered for Stop Handgun Violence. When a position came open I was thrilled to apply and receive it. I have been with SHV for six years and love getting to be a part of the solution to gun violence.

What is your most memorable SHV event?

I can’t choose just one. For the last four years we have been the national coordinator of the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. In its inaugural year, over 5,000 musicians participated at 350 events in 43 states. Standing back stage at the Beacon Theater watching Jackson Browne play as 350 simultaneous events were happening was a highlight.

The second most memorable event was the student-led 50 Miles More Massachusetts march from Worcester to Springfield. Just days before the march I lost a close friend to gun violence. Walking in my friend’s memory with amazing student activists and adult volunteers was incredibly healing.

What’s your favorite MA destination?

I love walking to the top of the Bunker Hill monument, watching Red Sox games at Fenway, running on the Charles River and getting all the snacks from Russo’s in Watertown.

Fun Fact? I have lived in 10% of the states in the US.

IT’S THE SMALL STUFF THAT KEEPS US GOING.

We are lucky to have an awesome team of volunteers from Meredith Management who help us out with administrative support! Thank you Maureen, Henia and Jon.

Plus, their dogs – like Jack here – bring lots of happiness to our day!

#dogsintheoffice #officedogsrock