Theses Master's

THE 40% PROJECT: An Oral History of Gun Violence in America & The Survivors, A Documentary Play Based on the Interviews

Werner-Thomas, Holly

The number of gun violence victims is 110,000 Americans on average every year, a number that does not include the families of victims, and other people most affected. THE 40% PROJECT: An Oral History of Gun Violence in America, documents the stories of both those who have survived being shot, and those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. (*40% refers to the fact that at least forty percent of Americans will either be shot or know someone who has been shot in their lifetimes.) The oral histories in The 40% Project include people from New York City to suburban Florida to rural Louisiana to sprawling Phoenix to small town Washington State. They include people who have been injured and survived and those whose loved ones have either committed suicide or been killed. They include women and men, sons, fathers, wives, girlfriends, young single men, divorced, middle-aged women, widows, nieces, mothers and friends. They are both African American and white (although neither Latinx nor Native American nor immigrant – so far). Two of the white mothers I interviewed about daughters who had been randomly killed are married to African American men; their daughters were biracial. All are life story interviews. I focus on where the survivors are from, sense of place and home, family, faith, education, the gun violence itself, and its aftermath. My documentary play, The Survivors, is based on the interviews.

Keywords: Gun ownership and violence; poverty related violence; domestic violence; mass shootings; suicide; "ethical loneliness," or societal abandonment; legal: easy access to guns/how the laws enable the shootings; identity/Second Amendment/gun ownership; legal versus illegal weapons market; public health; the true cost of gun violence; survivors; GVP activism; culture wars; social and environmental justice; toxic masculinity; money in politics

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Oral History Master of Arts
Thesis Advisors
Starecheski, Amy A.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
October 18, 2023