Local Hero: Ann Reiss Lane | KCET
Local Hero: Ann Reiss Lane
Ann Reiss Lane is the Founder and Chair Emeritus of Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV). The organization started in 1993 in response to the gun industry's expansive marketing campaign toward women and the surging handgun homicide rate (at the time there was a reported 40,000 gun deaths in the U.S.). Ms. Reiss Lane's vision was to empower women, whose roles had traditionally been caretakers of the community, to help bring down the gun homicide rate.
Since its launch more than two decades ago, WAGV has seen the gun homicide rate in Los Angeles drop from more than 1,000 to less than 300 in 2013.
When Ms. Reiss Lane established WAGV, she already had a long career in public service that included 20 years as a member of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's administration, 13 of which were on the Board of Fire Commissioners where she worked to bring women into the ranks of firefighters. Following the 1991 L.A. Riots, she was appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners.
In the early years, WAGV held rallies and marches in downtown Los Angeles and participated in national events to raise awareness around gun violence. From the beginning WAGV not only offered its support to the survivors of gun violence but also to the family members and friends of those lost to gun violence who they enlisted to share their stories and educate others to fight for change. To this day, the organization's Speakers Bureau is a key element in WAGV's success.
Most recently in 2013, WAGV launched The Talk Project, a campaign for gun safety, to reach parents and caretakers of elementary school children in Los Angeles County and school districts in Southern California. The campaign helped communicate important messages about gun safety to children with the brochure, "Talking With Your Children About Guns."
In addition to WAGV, Ms. Reiss Lane serves as a member of the Advisory Board of L.A.'s BEST, Governing Board member of Community Partners, and Chair Emeritus of Shelter Partnership. Los Angeles born and educated, she has been married to husband Bert for 65 years.
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