Tuesday February 25, 2014

Contact: Nancy Robinson 617-233-5363 info@citizensforsafety.org


This LIPSTICK Saves Lives

Boston Mass Transit unveils new LIPSTICK campaign:

Women have the power to stop gun trafficking now

 (Boston) MBTA riders will soon be seeing ads for LIPSTICK. The ads are not about cosmetics, but Operation LIPSTICK, a groundbreaking program that warns women against buying, hiding and carrying guns that end up being used in crimes. The ad shows the striking image of a woman in handcuffs with the headline “His Crime, Your Time – Holding his gun can land you in jail.”

Mayor Martin Walsh, District Attorney Dan Conley, and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley joined law enforcement and community leaders Tuesday at a Ruggles Station news conference to launch the new LIPSTICK ad campaign, the first of its kind in the nation.

“LIPSTICK – Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killings – helps women understand we have the power to make our community a safer place starting today.  We have the power to stop hiding and buying guns that will be used to take another person’s life,” says Ruth Rollins, LIPSTICK Program Director.

Women are often approached to make a “straw buy,” purchasing firearms, not for their own use, but for men who can’t get guns legally, research shows.  Straw purchasing is the most common way guns are trafficked into urban communities where they’re often used in shootings and other crimes.

LIPSTICK uses educational outreach, peer-to-peer organizing, and social service intervention to encourage women to make the right choices – choices that will save lives.

“The women of the LIPSTICK campaign are taking meaningful action now to prevent women and young girls from getting caught up in gun trafficking,” Mayor Walsh says. “I’m proud to partner with Operation LIPSTICK and am grateful for their leadership in empowering women to be part of the effort to make our neighborhoods safer.”

“LIPSTICK is women coming together to say we will not provide the illegal guns that are traumatizing our community.  Just as women have the power to create a life, we also have the power to save a life.  I am pleased to be part of this life-affirming, innovative campaign, and commend the Mayor, MBTA, our law enforcement allies, and the people of Boston for getting behind it.  I encourage leaders from every city in the country to embrace LIPSTICK as an important violence-prevention tool that empowers women of all ages, from all backgrounds, to refuse to be used to take a life,” says Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley.

“As the mother of Warren Daniel Hairston, the victim of a senseless shooting in 2007, I’m deeply grateful to the MBTA and our law enforcement partners for this chance to spread LIPSTICK’s message about the power of women to keep our community safe.  I know from my work as a domestic violence advocate that women and girls can be easy prey for gun traffickers.  We’re here today to help each other make better choices that will protect us from gun violence,” says Ruth Rollins, LIPSTICK Program Director.

“LIPSTICK honors my son, Steven, killed in 2007,and all those taken by senseless violence,” says Kim Odom, LIPSTICK Field Director.  “This ad campaign reminds us that we’re all part of the same community and each person’s actions have consequences for all.  By raising our moral consciousness, by encouraging women to say, ‘I refuse to be used to take a life,’ we can unite to prevent shootings starting now.”

“I support LIPSTICK because it empowers women to take an active role in ending gun violence.  By refusing to make straw purchases or hold guns for someone else, women of every age can make our streets safer for themselves and their loved ones,” says Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley

“LIPSTICK is a valuable community-police partnership that is taking a unique approach to reducing gun violence by focusing on the important role women can play in getting guns off the street.  LIPSTICK educates women and encourages them not to buy, hide, or carry guns for men who can’t get them legally.  This media campaign is an important component of a comprehensive strategy to prevent gun violence,” says Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.

Boston police have taken thousands of crime guns off Boston streets over the last five years.  More than 60% of these guns come from states outside of Massachusetts with weaker gun laws.  According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New Hampshire was the leading exporter of crime guns into Massachusetts last year.

Chief MacMillan of the MBTA Transit Police stated, “This type of campaign will increase public awareness about gun violence and hopefully will prevent females from being exploited in this manner.  The MBTA views itself as important partner in the community and is pleased to be able to participate in this campaign.”

“LIPSTICK delivers eye-opening information to the girls I work with who have been commercially sexually exploited.  Many of these girls were involved in holding and harboring guns.  LIPSTICK helped them see that buying and carrying illegal guns was just another form of exploitation and manipulation, and that it contributed to the death and injury of their friends.  Because of LIPSTICK, they’re helping their friends make different choices,” says Audrey Morrissey, Associate Director My Life My Choice

“Casa Myrna provides a range of comprehensive services to end domestic and teen dating violence in Boston and is proud to be standing here today to support the LIPSTICK campaign.  We partnered with LIPSTICK from the beginning because we see how women caught in abusive relationships can be pressured into high-risk behaviors, including behaviors involving illegal guns.  LIPSTICK is an essential new tool to protect women and girls from violence and exploitation so they can lead productive, healthy lives, “ says Deborah Collins-Gousby, Executive Director of Programs for Casa Myrna.

“LIPSTICK educates women and empowers women with the tools to make informed decisions. Thanks to LIPSTICK, we now know women hold the key to preventing guns from ending up in the wrong hands.  Our children aren’t born with guns in their hands, and too many of them are dying and going to jail.  If LIPSTICK’s new ad campaign convinces one woman not to hold or buy a gun for someone else, if it takes one gun off the street, prevents one shooting, keeps one young person from going to jail—it will be worth it,” says Tina Chery, founder Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.

“LIPSTICK gives me a way to deal with so many deaths in my community by asking “Where do the guns come from?”  When my grandson Tone was murdered at the age of 22 in California last October, LIPSTICK helped me cope with his death.  I am so thankful for the education LIPSTICK gave me and a chance to stop the guns from coming into my community!,” says LIPSTICK volunteer Gloria “Queen” Johnson.

“Mothers for Justice and Equality believes women have the power to change their community in positive ways.  That’s why we’ve partnered with LIPSTICK, to give women concrete steps they can take right now to get the guns off the streets and save lives.  Like Mothers for Drunk Driving, we can change cultural norms so that it’s no longer okay to do things–like buying or holding a gun for someone–that endanger the people around us,” said Monalisa Smith, founder of Mothers for Justice and Equality.

“I’m especially proud of the hundreds of women and girls in Boston who’ve stepped up to become part of LIPSTICK.  They’re taking pledges not to contribute to the violence.  They’re spreading information online and door-to-door, at beauty salons and church breakfasts, on the radio and TV, at legislative hearings and over the kitchen table.  They’re the heart and soul behind this new ad campaign, imploring their daughters, sisters, friends and neighbors to say ‘No!’ to gun trafficking, ‘No!” to exploitation, and ‘Yes!’ to a safer Boston,” says Nancy Robinson, LIPSTICK Executive Director.

“Operation LIPSTICK is not waiting for our leaders in Washington to take action on meaningful national gun legislation,” says Citizens for Safety Board member and public health consultant Leonard Lee.  “These women are taking action TODAY to save the lives and futures of their fellow citizens.  Operation LIPSTICK is leading the way to stop the flow of crime guns to Boston’s neighborhoods and help women make the right choices for their own safety and well-being.”

“As a young woman who grew up in Roxbury, I believe that we have ignored reaching out to girls and women as an anti-violence strategy for far too long.  LIPSTICK is here and the message is clear—together we can create an army of sisters and friends, mothers and daughters, who save lives,” says Liz Miranda, LIPSTICK volunteer.

LIPSTICK is a campaign of Citizens for Safety, a 501c3 nonprofit mobilizing the power of grassroots action to stop the flow of guns to criminals and create safe communities where every child can thrive without the fear of gunfire.

Citizens for Safety

31 Heath Street Suite 12

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Phone: (617) 233-5363