Annual Community Forum

2023 — Gun Safety: Generations Standing Together

If you were among the 250 Forum attendees on October 9, you experienced first-hand the enthusiasm of the crowd, especially the young people who attended, as guests and as speakers. The standing ovation given to 34-year-old keynoter Brandon Wolf, who survived the 2016 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting, made clear we’re all in this together.

Brandon’s address  underscored this year’s Forum theme of Gun Safety: Generations Standing Together. Clearly, even 10 years since its founding, GGS knows much work still needs to be done to prevent gun violence, promote responsible gun ownership and advocate for gun safety.

Following are among the comments made during the conversation with participants of varying generations:

Of the 48,000 lives lost to gun violence last year, Brandon said that night, “We can do better than this.”

“There’s no reason on earth we should live in fear of guns,” Judy Sherry, GGS president, told attendees.  She founded GGS after the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Of minority groups suffering disproportionate levels of gun deaths, KU professor Jomella Watson-Thompson, PhD, said, “We have a right to live.”

Regarding the  years he and his classmates have experienced active shooter drills, college student Sam Kim said, “My generation thinks that’s normal. It’s  not.” Sam founded UMKC’s chapter of Students Demand Action.

And of mental health struggles that can contribute to gun violence, Shawnee Mission East High School student Emma Kuhlman, said, “We need more mental health services and facilities.” She’s co-president of East Against Gun Violence.

Listen to the forum below. Brandon’s Speech Starts at 31 minutes. Conversationalists begin at 76 minutes.

We’re grateful to our organization and individual partners who have co-sponsored these annual Forums.

Annual Community Forum Highlights

Past Annual Community Forum Overviews

2022 — ADVOCACY: The time is NOW!

With the public at a tipping point in its concern about gun violence, the Forum focused on ways to successfully advocate for change. Keynote speaker was Connecticut attorney Josh Koskoff who won a landmark $73 million settlement from Remington for nine Sandy Hook families who sued the manufacturer of the AK-15 assault rifle used in the mass shooting.

The link to this Forum is here
Passcode: K0Z!U2=k

2021 — Gun Violence. Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic

Our second virtual Forum featured keynote speaker Megan Ranney, MD, MPH, a nationally recognized epidemiologist and advocate for gun violence prevention. She was joined by local community leaders explaining their strategies to improve homelessness, unemployment, early childhood education and living environments. Over 185 people attended via Zoom.

The link to this Forum is here
Passcode: FZiE20D$

2020 — Gun Violence. Going Beyond Thoughts and Prayers

Our first ever virtual Forum featured leaders in the Faith, Business and Government communities sharing their current actions and plans for the future. More than 225 people attended this Zoom webinar.

The link to this Forum is here
Passcode: AXdY0jm?

2019 — Gun Violence. Insights From Both Ends of the Gun

The Forum featured keynote speakers Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix and was attended by more than 280 people.

2018 — Gun Violence. Changing the Conversation

The Forum was attended by 250 participants and featured keynote speaker Candace Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

2017 — Gun Violence. Keeping Our Children Safe

The Forum was attended by over 200 participants and featured keynote speaker is Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan Hockley, who was killed at Sandy Hook.

2016 — Gun Violence. The Culture of Fear

For the first time, the Forum featured a nationally known keynote speaker: Leonard Pitts, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist syndicated in newspapers across the country including the Kansas City Star. The Forum was attended by more than 190 people.

2015 — Gun Violence. A public health issue

Rex Archer, M.D., Director of the Kansas City Department of Health was the keynote speaker. He was one of the earliest proponents of referring to gun violence as a public health issue. The Forum was attended by 165+ people.

2014 — Gun Violence. We need to understand it

Missouri State Representative, Stacey Newman, of St. Louis and Kansas City Mayor Sly James spoke. Both viewed this as a crucial step to address gun violence before many others understood its importance. This first Forum was attended by 140 people.

Organization Partners

Our Generous 2023 Community Sponsors

ggs partner adhoc group kc logo
ggs partner center for practical bioethics logo
ggs partner children's mercy kansas city logo
ggs partner colonial church in prairie village
ggs partner community christian church
ggs partner congregation beth torah logo
ggs partner johnson county kansas mental health logo
ggs organization partner kol ami kc urban jewish communitiy-logo
ggs organization partner kansas city health department logo
ggs organization partner kansas city jesuit parish logo
ggs organization partner lives on the line logo
ggs organization partner mainstream coalition logo
ggs partner national council of jewish women logo
ggs partner peaceworks kc kansas city logo
ggs partner saint andrews christian church logo
ggs partner the greater kansas city interfaith council logo
ggs partner the new reform temple logo
ggs partner village church logo

Individual Partners


Sarah & Jonathan Baum

Judie Becker

Pati Chasnoff

Donna Gould Cohen

Charlotte & Bruce Davison

Dowd-Burton Fund

Gary E & Stephanie Gosha-Charitable Fund

Patty Logan, M.D.

Dr. Tom Russell

Lisa & Charles Schellhorn

Julie & Sven Sykes


Maribeth & Alan Brennaman

Marylou Carrico & Gilbert Tietz

Jannie & Patrick Cubbage

Eileen Duggan

Carol Gee

James & Christine Glenski Family

Charitable Fund

Rev. Adam & LaVon Hamilton

Dr. Edwin & Marsha Herman

Gerald Hiller

Kay Johnson & William Koenigsdorf

Jeannie Long

Mindy & Rick McDermott

Barb & Jim McNeile

Patty & Nick Nicholson

Gail & Richard Roberson

Cristy & Charlie Roberts

Judy & Steve Sherry

Suzanne Christopher Shutz

Charlie & Jeanne Sosland Charitable Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Al & Mo Strack

Peggy Strickland

Roys & Brad Thedinger


Anonymous (2)

Lynne & David Bock

Ryan Boyer

Jan Brunks

Mary & John Conner

Mark Eisemann & Leslie Mark Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Vicki & Jim Ensz

Lona & Neil Harris

Joan & Alan Jacobson

Alicia & Bill Jennings

Donna Katz

Deedee King

Mary & John Lehoczky

Rita Leifhelm & Lonnie Shalton

Linda Lighton-Adkins

Barbara Livers

Ellen Martin

Ann Nelson

Sheryl & Michael Porter

Christine Rankin

Palle and Dennis Rilinger

Barbara & Gary Rogoff

Charlotte & Bob Ronan

Debra Rubin

Tommye Saxton

Marva Shelton

Slovick Mou Family Fund

Sheila & Ken Sonnenschein Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Stewart and Esther Stein Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Dr. Shayla Sullivant & Matthew Dehaemers

Melinda Upshaw

Lisa Veglahn

Dr. Brad & Barbara Warady

Ann & Robert Weaver

Dave & Carole Webster

Julie & Tom Young


Kimberly Adams

Amy Axtell

Melissa Baker

Shari Bell

Lise and Lee Bernstein

Stevi & Jeff Brick

Paula Brunner

Gay Clemenson

Betty & Jim Crooker

Jill & William Coughlin

Mary Dees

Jodi Dinkins

Shirley English

Donna & Larry Euston

Diane & Art Federman

Ann Hall

Jane Fisler-Hoffman

Scott Friedberg

Jerry Friedberg

Barbara Funk

Lynn Kauffman

Allan Katz & Nancy Cohn

Barbara & Bob Kessler

Paula & Rusty Leffel

Adele Levi

Susie Lippert

Barbara Livers

Dee Dee Lowland

Janet Milkovitch

Pat Pettey

Marjorie & Bill Schlosberg

Vivien and Daniel Schlozman Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Linda & Jack Smith

Phyllis Stevens

Susan Summerlin

Helen Thompson

Deborah Turner

Carol Whitehead

Jennifer Williams

Stan & Joyce Zeldin Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas CityPeggy & Frank Zilm