In recognition of Suicide Prevention Month, we invited three community groups to discuss interventions they are implementing to prevent gun violence & suicide in Arizona rates. In this hour-long video you’ll learn about these interventions from 3 perspectives:

  • The work of the Everytown Survivor Network to raise awareness through storytelling. A survivor (Carol) will share her story.
  • The work of Moms Demand Action to raise awareness about the prevalence of suicide and the distinct role of guns in making suicide attempts more deadly along with the policy recommendations that could reduce suicide rates.
  • The work of the Be SMART For Kids ( which raises awareness of the importance of safe storage in deterring unintentional shootings, suicide, and homicide, especially in children and teens. 

Our advocacy work is unique in that we address multiple roots of violence – including weak gun laws, easy access to firearms, lack of education on safe storage and firearm responsibility, and the intersection of gun violence and suicide.

View the Discussion

Our Speakers:

Carol Bates is a Massachusetts native who is a mother of 3 and grandmother of 2. She has been retired for almost 20 years from a diverse career including being a small business owner and a political consultant. Since retirement, she has been an active community volunteer and activist, volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and with Moms Demand Action.

She has also been a board member on the Human Rights Project and the National Abortion Rights Action League. As a survivor of gun violence, she shares her son’s story in the hopes that no one else will ever have to endure the pain of losing a child.


RJ Shannon, born and raised in Chicago, has lived in Phoenix, Arizona for 41 years as a mother, musician, health educator, community mobilizer, and social justice advocate. For 30 years, RJ has worked in the areas of community violence prevention; HIV in communities of color; health equity; racial justice; and women’s and LGBTQ2S rights.

She is an active member of AZPHA, serving on the Health Justice committee and previously as a board member when employed by the AZ Department of Health Services. As a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in

America, RJ proudly represents an organization dedicated to ending gun violence and looks forward to the potential collaborative efforts of AZPHA and Moms.


Candace Vodicka is a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the Phoenix Co-lead for the Be SMART program. She is a former elementary school teacher. As a mother of three young girls, Candace is committed to creating a safer future through outreach and education of gun violence prevention.