We seek to start conversations in towns and cities where conversations need to be started.

Telling stories and starting conversations is at the heart of It Takes Us: Stories of Gun Violence from Across America. From the beginning, the project has been about showing the full scope of the gun violence epidemic - diversity, both in terms of type of person impacted, and the sort of incidents that impacted them.

We’re taking a deeper dive into the issue: going city by city to listen to residents’ stories, learn how gun violence has impacted their hometowns, and connect survivors with their neighbors to start conversations and explore how gun violence touches each of our communities differently.

We started this journey in Indianapolis, and with the support of the social justice committee at a large church, we photographed and filmed people from varied walks of life - young, old, rich, poor, and in communities that have been affected by gun violence in dramatically different ways. The end result was a series of well-attended multimedia exhibitions, presentations, and panel discussions that succeeded in raising awareness and creating space for meaningful, productive dialogue.

Using this experience as a model for bringing the conversation to other cities, we now seek to partner with foundations, individuals, institutions, gun violence prevention groups, and related organizations to - among other things - help those in rural, urban, and suburban areas have a voice and to see that their experiences are more similar than they are different.

Our goal has always been to start conversations in places where conversations need to be started… and - hopefully - to allow people see the story of their family in the stories of other families. We believe that doing so will elevate the discussion beyond the traditional media narrative and help find common ground.

Photography and Film
Raising up the stories of survivors, family members, and witnesses.

We approach each person telling their story with a holistic view: who is the person, what happened to them, how has it impacted their life, and what they would like others to know about their experience. Approaching each of these questions without agenda, the goal is to allow subjects to share their story in all of its complexity. It’s vital to us to allow the subject to tell their story in their own words and their unique voice, and accomplish this with text, interviews, and short films.

Joe Quint has built trust and relationships throughout the gun survivor community through his work over the past five years, and brings a unique sensitivity to this subject and process. The participant is a collaborator in the telling of their story, and is treated with respect, understanding, and dignity.

Reaching a diverse audience.

We staged a series of exhibits in various locations throughout Indianapolis showcasing the stories of local people impacted by gun violence. We partnered with clergy, medical centers, and community organizations to reach as wide an audience as possible. This input and support was invaluable and helped us gain insight into local issues as well as connect with people who might not otherwise engage with the issue of gun violence in their community.

Exhibitions Included:

Schwitzer Gallery at the Circle City Industrial Arts Complex:
Martin Luther King Community Center
Noblesville City Hall
Phoenix Theatre
Broad Ripple Art Walk
Indianapolis Central Library

Creating dialogue around the issues that matter.

Since the goal of the project is to start conversations, we wanted to provide an opportunity for people to engage directly with each other through organized discussions. These were a mix of presentations with Q&A sessions as well as panel discussions with experts and survivors. We collaborated with schools and public institutions to create free programming and engage communities on relevant topics, especially those that are often overlooked in the gun violence conversation.

Discussions Included:

“The Untold Stories of Gun Violence”
A discussion highlighting the untold stories of gun violence - shining a light on the trauma, grief, and strength of those who who are not typically considered part of the gun violence narrative.

“The Impact of Noblesville”
A discussion about the impact of the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School through the stories of family and community members.

“Suicide and Access to Guns”
A discussion highlighting the often over-looked topic of suicide and access to guns at the Indianapolis Central Library.

“How the Arts Scene is Responding to Gun Violence”
A discussion with guest Julia Moore, Director of Public Art at the Indianapolis Arts Council, surrounding the art community’s reaction to gun violence in America as part of the Phoenix Theatre's Trail Talk series

“University High School Presentation: Finding Your Calling”
A presentation by photographer Joe Quint discussing his work and how he became involved with documentary photography and activism.

“Meet the Photographer”
A presentation of work and discussion with photographer Joe Quint at St.Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Spreading the word.

In order to promote our events, we developed a marketing plan consisting of outdoor advertising, targeted social posts, and community outreach. A website was developed to serve as a home for all of our content... providing not only more detail on the stories presented but a calendar of events and action steps as well.

The exhibit was highlighted on the local news station in Indianapolis, who spoke with photographer Joe Quint, as well as one of the participants Danyette Smith about the impact of the shows.