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Moms Demand Action

Meet Julianne Moore’s #WCWs: 12 of the Women Who Power the Movement

You might know actress Julianne Moore from her roles in Still Alice and Boogie Nights, but around here, she’s better known as chair of the Everytown Creative Council and for her decade-long advocacy on gun violence prevention. As Moore said on The Kelly Clarkson Show, “I felt like if I wasn’t doing anything to change gun laws in this country, I wasn’t really protecting my children.” This winter, Moore wanted to find a way to elevate and spotlight many of the women she has met through Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action. And she has done so through her #WCW series on Instagram.

What is WCW?

“WCW” means Woman Crush Wednesday. This is a social media trend where people post photos of their “Woman Crush” to encourage and uplift other women. This started as a counterpart to #MCM, or Man Crush Monday. So far, Moore has highlighted 20 women in the gun violence prevention movement as part of her #WCW series. 

Our women volunteers are always our Woman Crush Wednesdays: Our work would not be possible without our volunteers, who make up the largest grassroots organization in the United States. Our grassroots army is what sets us apart from other organizations, and it’s what has allowed us to change the political calculus and shift the culture on this issue from Congress to statehouses, school boards to boardrooms, pediatrician visits to playdates, and beyond. 

Tens of thousands of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers and gun violence survivors are working tirelessly to advocate for gun safety in their communities. This week, April 21-27, is National Volunteer Week, giving us a particular chance to celebrate the contributions of our volunteers.

We’re highlighting 12 of Julianne Moore’s #WomanCrushWednesdays that you may have missed. During National Volunteer Week, take a moment to meet some of the women who power this movement:

J. La’Shay Black

  • J. La’Shay Black is a mom of two teenagers, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, and a gun violence prevention advocate from Texas. When she’s not working, La’Shay splits her time volunteering with the Lambda Omega Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and with the Northwest Greater Houston Chapter of Moms Demand Action.

An only child, La’Shay has always felt most effective working with organizations that feel like family, and as a National Trainer with Moms Demand Action, she’s found that she can be herself and share her experiences and determination to make this country safer for her children.

She’s adopted the tagline, “For my kids—and yours,” because she knows that children who look like her teens are at higher risk for gun violence—and a safer America for Black children will create a safer America for ALL children. That’s why J. La’Shay Black fights.

Shela Blanchard

  • Shela joined the Ohio Chapter of Moms Demand Action after her niece, Monica Brickhouse, was killed in the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton.

Shela transformed her pain into purpose—becoming an essential leader in her chapter and community, testifying at the state Capitol, creating strong relationships with other local partners, and so much more.

Shela is the inaugural La’Tatia Stewart Award recipient. In November 2023, Shela traveled to Georgia to meet LaTatia’s loving family and celebrate her heavenly birthday with LaTatia’s mother, Ms. Minnie Mae Holman.

In the words of Shela, “More than advocacy, I gained an extended family and look forward to seeing them again.”

Linda Cavazos

  • Linda Cavazos of Henderson, Nevada is a gun safety activist, mental health professional, and former public school teacher.

After Linda’s brother Louie died by gun suicide in 1980, Linda struggled with the stigma around suicide within her community, her family, and her workplace. She decided to go back to school, earning a degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling. She was introduced to Everytown and Moms Demand Action by a friend, and she eventually found a beautiful community of people who understood her, saw her, and heard her.

Linda is a former volunteer leader with Moms Demand Action and a former Everytown Survivor Fellow. She continues to advocate for gun safety by sharing her story publicly to raise awareness and encourage others to take action on gun violence prevention.

She also took her advocacy to the next level by running for office, and she’s now an elected Gun Sense Candidate as a Clark County School District Trustee! In her role as Trustee, she spearheaded the effort to notify district families about securely storing their guns because she knows how critical this is to reducing firearm suicides—a big win in the fifth-largest school district in the entire country! 


If you or someone you love is struggling, there is help: Call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or visit

Sari Kaufman

  • Sari Kaufman of Parkland, Florida survived the shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School six years ago in February 2018. As the country marked six years since this horrific shooting, yet another community experienced the same trauma, pain, and grief that Sari and the Parkland community did when 23 people—at least half of them children—were shot at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Championship parade, including one fatally. Survivors like Sari should inspire all of us to call for an America where places like schools and celebrations are safe from gunfire.

Sari, a sophomore at the time of the shooting at MSD, courageously sprang into action alongside her classmates and was a lead organizer for the March for Our Lives march in Parkland just a month later. Since then, Sari has been an unstoppable force in the gun safety movement. She served on the inaugural National Advisory Board for Students Demand Action, where she trained and mentored other student leaders across the country and helped shape the overall strategy and direction of the program. She’s also the co-founder of her own nonpartisan voter-education organization, MyVote Project.

Today, Sari leads her own Students Demand Action chapter out of Yale University, where she continues to raise awareness about gun violence prevention and call for meaningful solutions, both at the national level and in her college community of New Haven, Connecticut. In January 2024, she could be found in Las Vegas with fellow Students Demand Action volunteers protesting at SHOT Show—the firearm industry’s largest annual trade show—demanding industry accountability and reminding gun companies that guns are the number-one killer of people her age.

Every day, Sari honors those she lost six years ago by fighting for a future free from gun violence.

Jenessa Keller

  • Jenessa Keller of North Central Missouri is a prime example of how action sparks change.  

In February 2018, just one week after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Jenessa’s children’s school dealt with two gun threats. Deciding enough was enough, she immediately went into action and joined her local Moms Demand Action chapter. 

Thinking she’d have to commute to a neighboring big city to do so, Jenessa was surprised to see the work was already being done in her own backyard! She quickly learned about the unique needs of her rural Missouri community and the impact they could make in the state. Since joining North Central Missouri Moms Demand Action, she has stepped up to lead the Rural Caucus, which gives volunteers across rural America a place to connect, share successes and challenges, provide mentorship, and create a community.

Julvonnia McDowell

  • Julvonnia McDowell is an incredibly passionate Survivor Membership Lead with Moms Demand Action and a senior fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network. She is also a mother whose 14-year-old son, JaJuan, was taken by gun violence.

While visiting family for spring break, JaJuan was shot and killed by another teen playing with an unsecured firearm. When expressing her grief to Moore and other survivors, Julvonnia emphasized, “There are so many gun owners who think, ‘my child is not going to touch it,’ but you never know…when a child gains access to an unsecured firearm [there are] consequences that can happen.”

Today, Julvonnia works to prevent unintentional shootings by children through her advocacy with Be SMART, a public education campaign that spreads awareness on how secure gun storage—storing guns locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition—can save children’s lives. On the heels of Everytown for Gun Safety’s latest research marking 2023 as the year with the highest number of unintentional shootings by children, Julvonnia’s story is more important than ever. “Behind every statistic are real stories of kids like my son JaJuan and too many other families like mine…This is an issue we all need to worry about, because whether it’s your gun or not, believe me, it could be your child.”

Anne McWalter


  • After surviving gun violence, Anne McWalter thought she shouldn’t talk about her experiences. But in 2018, she found Moms Demand Action and learned that stories like hers are powerful.

Anne is now an Everytown Survivor Fellow and a local group lead in Delaware. As a leader in her community, she has been able to use her story to support and honor fellow survivors, disseminate information about secure gun storage, and help pass life-saving legislation.

Anne’s current focus is working locally to interrupt gun violence in her community by partnering with local grassroots groups and connecting them to create community-based solutions. As Anne says, “Gun violence is everyone’s story. If there is a way to stop another person from going through this trauma, I will fight for that!”

Alex Navarro

  • “I am incredibly fortunate to have been in this space with so many wonderful people over the years, sharing creative ideas on raising awareness, taking action together in our communities, advocating in Sacramento, and forming long-lasting friendships in the process. There is nothing else I’d rather do than this!”

This quote is by Alex Navarro of the San Francisco Bay Area, a mom, community activist, and volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. When it comes to organizing, Alex believes in a “boots on the ground” approach—constantly engaging with and supporting the work of community partners who are on the front lines of solving America’s gun violence crisis. 

Working with partners, she has been instrumental in the installation of several murals across the state to commemorate victims of gun violence and played a major role in engaging a statewide coalition of partners in California to pass A.B. 28: the Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Act. Passed in 2023, this historic, first-in-the-nation bill will annually fund gun violence prevention programs by taxing firearms and ammunition, providing vital resources to life-saving programs.

Jamie Oberheu

  • Jamie Oberheu, a dedicated second-grade teacher and mother of three from Iowa, has been teaching for 15 years. She joined Moms Demand Action in 2022 and is now a local group lead in Waterloo, Iowa. She is actively working to build her local chapter and promote gun safety measures through advocacy and education on programs like Be SMART. Jamie even completed the Demand a Seat program to become a Gun Sense Candidate to fight for an end to gun violence.

Jamie’s advocacy was all the more important when Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds quietly signed a dangerous bill into law that allows all school employees to carry guns—with qualified immunity—into schools. Despite widespread opposition from Iowans, this decision came months after a mass shooting at Perry High School in Perry, Iowa. “As a result of this tragedy, our governor and state legislators are passing a bill that arms teachers and school personnel,” Jamie says. “This is absurd! Allowing MORE guns will NOT remove guns from schools. It makes it even more dangerous.”

Mary Snipes

  • On August 31, 2018, Mary’s eldest son Felix was tragically taken by gun violence. Feeling there were no real resources or support for victims of gun violence in her area, Mary turned her grief into action and founded the Junction City, Kansas, chapter of Moms Demand Action.

Now, Mary shares her story to raise awareness about the impacts of gun violence and to effect change both in the Kansas statehouse and beyond. Mary is also the founder of the Felix Snipes Foundation, providing support to victims and survivors of gun violence and those suffering the long-term effects of COVID-19 in Kansas. 

“Sharing my family’s story is hard, but it’s a choice I make to honor my son by trying to put somebody else in our shoes to help them understand the true trauma and impact gun violence has had, especially on my family; my gifts; my children,” Mary said. “Not only did the individual who took my child’s life hurt our family, but that individual also hurt a community, a city, and surrounding areas.”

Mary has vowed to use her voice by sharing her story to make her state, community, and nation safer.

Beckie Squires

  • Beckie is a mom, nana, former educator, and volunteer with the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action.

Beckie got involved with Moms Demand Action after her niece’s nine-year-old son, Grady, was shot and killed by another child with an unsecured handgun.

Since Grady’s tragic death, in honor of his memory and to prevent more senseless tragedies, Beckie has advocated all across Montana for secure gun storage through Be SMART—a campaign aiming to prevent suicides, school shootings, and unintentional shootings by children and teens.

La’Tatia Stewart

  • La’Tatia was a dedicated, compassionate, and resilient advocate, who fought for gun safety in East St. Louis, Illinois, to honor the life of her son, Gregory, who was shot and killed on May 29, 2020. La’Tatia was a mother and a grandmother, raising Gregory’s young children after he was killed. Tragically, on May 3, 2023, La’Tatia’s life was taken by gun violence.

La’Tatia dedicated much of her advocacy to the realities and the rights of survivors of unsolved gun crimes, but as of now, both La’Tatia and Gregory’s murders remain unsolved.

To honor her commitment, leadership, and legacy, Moms Demand Action created the La’Tatia Stewart Award to recognize a leader who exemplifies a commitment to ending gun violence, who fosters meaningful partnerships in communities highly impacted by gun violence, and who elevates and supports fellow survivors who are working to end gun violence. Shela Blanchard was its inaugural recipient.

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