ASK Campaign

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

The message is simple: when you send your child to play at someone's else's home, Rockford leaders want you to ask, is there a gun where my child plays?

"It doesn't have anything to do with politics, it's not a comment on whether a person should or shouldn't own a gun. It's just a simple question to keep our children safe from a very real danger," says Dan Gross, CEO of Pax/Real Solutions to Gun Violence.
"ASK" is a nationwide campaign that encourages parents to join the pledge. Gross says Rockford's size, coupled with its elevated crime rate, makes it a perfect environment for the campaign.

"We've never done anything to the level we're doing it here, in terms of pulling together the mayor and the police chief and all the people from the key areas that make a campaign like this successful," says Gross.

"In 2006 alone, of all the gun related incidents reported to the police, 13.2 percent have affected kids 16 years of age and younger in the city of Rockford," says Rockford Police Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark.

A statistic every community member can agree is unacceptable.

"The ASK Campaign joins other campaigns like Ceasefire, and truly working in the trenches, working each and every day to change norms of conduct in Rockford, Illinois," says Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.

"We beat the drum for the last two years here, trying to mobilize the community around the problems of gun violence, so it's really refreshing to see another group raising up in Rockford to address these issues," says Ralph Hawthorne of Rockford Ceasefire.
On Wednesday, people began signing the pledge on the side of a city bus.

"The plan is that there won't be a parent who can go through their day in Rockford without seeing the message," says Gross.

Throughout the next year, you'll see many signs of the "ASK" Campaign in Rockford. You'll see public service announcements as well as the distribution of educational materials by various local organizations.

If you want to sign the pledge, you can stop by the Members Credit Alliance Credit Union at the Wal-Marts on Riverside and East State Street.


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