It was mid-2014 - right after the University of California at Santa Barbara shooting - and I happened to glance at that weeks' issue of PEOPLE. The cover story was about some Kardashian wedding and there was a little blurb in the upper right corner about the shooting... with a subhead saying 'How could this happen - again?'. Now, setting aside the disproportionality in importance of these two stories, I was struck by both the naivety and borderline irresponsiblity of that copy.

“How could it NOT happen again?”

Why should we be surprised when - despite gains made in recent years by the gun violence prevention movement - there has yet to be a nationwide, collective shift of consciousness.

I became increasingly frustrated by inaction - my own and the inaction of my country. I could no longer simply pay lip service to the importance of reducing the over 32,000 senseless and preventable deaths that take place every year. I could no longer just sign petitions or - worse - "Like" another Facebook page and convince myself that I was engaged. Most importantly, I could no longer scratch my head in amazement every time there was a national tragedy and wonder what it was going to take to change society for the better.

And that's when I realized that it's going to take all of us. We can't afford to wait for someone else to step up and address this crisis.We all need to get involved in whatever way suits our skills, talents, and passions best.

For me, this means meeting and photographing survivors of gun violence as well as the friends and family members of gun violence victims... and telling their diverse stories of trauma, grief, and strength. By shining a light on these people, and allowing viewers to relate to them on a personal level and maybe even see their own families story in the stories of others, I hope to create a dialogue that will lead to meaningful change.

Joe Quint
Brooklyn, NY