THE BLOG
01/29/2016 05:54 pm ET Updated Jan 28, 2017

I Am Doing Something About It... Meet Byron Bigelow

Someone dies from gun violence every 16 minutes in America.

YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT is a series of frank interviews with passionate men and women who are leaders, activists, experts and mentors on the subject of illegal gun violence in America. All of them are warriors on this very complicated and emotional mission.

Some are friends and some I have admired from afar for their bravery, audacity and indomitable commitment to the cause. Although our backgrounds are vastly different, and the experiences and challenges we face in our work and lives are as complex as the causes and the solutions to this insidious problem, each has shown through their actions that there is more that can be done to end this senseless loss of human life.

I am proud to introduce you to them and share their insights into how you can help Raise The Caliber of your community and help our efforts to end illegal gun violence in America.

Interview No 1. I AM DOING SOMETHING

Name:
Byron Bigelow

Occupation/Title:
Warehouse worker

Age:
25

Race/Nationality:
African American

Where do you live?
Bridgeport CT

What quote do you live by?

"In life you'll meet two types of people. Ones who build you up and ones who'll shit on you. But in the end. You'll thank both of them."

What are you most proud of about your work/life?
I am a living testimony of one of the few programs that successfully help active gang members rebuild their lives and re enter society. It is called Project Longevity. I currently stand behind them and will always do whatever is needed including many speeches at Sacred Heart University's Building Bridges. The most important connection I have made is with the violent juveniles.

But, what I am most proud of being is the best father to my kids.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Managing my time.

Why do you think we have such a problem with gun violence in America?
Honestly, It's fear and reputation. Kids now a days are scared to lose a fight and worried about what others will say if they do. They want to portray the gangsters they see in movies and still not realize it always ends in one of two ways...dead or in jail.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about why we have such a problem with gun violence in America?
I would say gun laws themselves. The new gun laws the government are trying to put together only hinder people who go about carrying the right way.

Do you think there is a law that the government could enact that would really make a difference in reducing gun violence and building safe communities?
No. There is no law that can control human emotions.

What are three things the average American citizen can do to "Raise The Caliber" of their community?
Gun awareness
Violent teen management
Community bonding

Is there a must read book or article on this topic that has educated and inspired you?
No. Just life experience.


To learn how you can do something about it, visit www.calibercollection.com "about us"

ABOUT PROJECT LONGEVITY:
Project Longevity is a Community and Law Enforcement initiative to reduce serious violence in three of Connecticut's major cities: New Haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford. Project Longevity is modeled after successful efforts implemented in communities across the country. To learn more visit http://bit.ly/1VuaToD

About the author: Jessica Mindich began the Caliber Collection in January 2012 as a collaboration with the Mayor of Newark, NJ, Cory Booker, as a way to turn illegal and unwanted guns from our cities' streets into jewelry. Their vision was to create a virtuous cycle by funding gun buyback and amnesty programs from the proceeds of the sales from the Caliber Collection. The jewelry is made with the serial numbers from illegal guns and the metal from shell casings. The Caliber Collection donates 20% of the net proceeds to fund voluntary gun buyback and amnesty programs in some of the toughest cities in America. To date, they have taken over 1,000 illegal guns off the streets and have raised approximately $100,000 for police departments in Newark, Hartford, the San Francisco Bay Area and Detroit from the sale of Caliber products to customers in over 85 countries.

From the success of the Caliber Collection, Jessica created The Caliber Foundation, which offers support to victims, families and communities who have been affected by illegal gun violence. The Caliber Foundation is the proud recipient of grants from MTV, Shepard Fairey/Obey Giant and The Serena Williams Foundation. Jessica is also the founder of the Raise The Caliber initiative, a National advocacy campaign to end illegal gun violence. Proceeds from partnerships under Raise The Caliber are donated to the Caliber Foundation.

www.calibercollection.com