07/19/2013 04:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

American Moms Honor the Victims of the Aurora Mass Shooting One Year Later

It was just a year ago that my son, Sam, became afraid of going to the movies. Ever since I can remember, it was a place that he loved, a place of adventure and wonder, and yet after the mass shooting at a screening of Batman in Aurora on July 20, 2013, my son started having panic attacks at the thought of being in one of the places where he always felt safe. And he's not alone -- there are families across this country that experienced something similar with their own children as a result of the more and more frequent mass shootings in America.

This weekend, moms across the country will be gathering in our communities to remember those whose lives were lost just one year ago in Colorado. As we come together yet again to commemorate those who have been tragically taken away from their loved ones as a result of gun violence, we are also sending the message that we aren't going to take this anymore.

We aren't going to stand by while our politicians say one thing about gun violence, yet do nothing to stop it. We are meeting with our elected officials regularly to hold them accountable and let them know that the only way to get our votes in the next election is to vote for common-sense gun reforms. And we're educating other moms about which candidates are committing to stand up for our children and families on gun issues.

And we aren't going to support businesses that proclaim to be committed to the wellbeing of their customers at the same time they allow loaded guns in their stores. Just last week we launched a national petition urging Starbucks to change its policy of allowing guns in its stores in the states where open carry is legal. This is a corporation that recently banned smoking within 25 feet of its stores in defiance of state laws on smoking - apparently Starbucks CEO thinks secondhand smoke is more dangerous than secondhand bullets?

Moms also are not going to be cowed into silence by the gun lobby and their millions of dollars, all focused on convincing elected officials to turn their backs on the wishes of 90 percent of the American public who support common-sense gun reforms, like requiring background checks for all gun purchases and banning assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than ten rounds.

The more than 100,000 moms who are part of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are speaking out because together, our voices can make a difference. Our chapters across 40 states are enabling us to get moms to act online and, even more important, offline - they're showing up at rallies and events in their communities every week and using their voices and votes to make change.

We know that it's going to take time to bring about the change our country so desperately needs, but we're in this for the long haul. So we hope you will join us and participate in a remembrance of the Aurora victims this weekend. And we urge you to honor the countless lives that have been needlessly lost to gun violence by doing something as simple as joining us at

I don't want this country I love to be a place where my son is terrified to do something as simple as go to the movies. I don't want to be fearful for my family when I order a nonfat misto at my local Starbucks. And I don't want one more mom or dad to lose their child to a gun. And I know you don't either. If we act collectively as 80 million American moms, we can overcome gun violence and get our country back on course.