Mass shooting survivor Whitney Austin responds to Louisville’s latest tragedy

Mass shooting survivor Whitney Austin responds to Louisville’s latest tragedy
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 7:28 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Following Monday morning’s mass shooting at Old National Bank in downtown Louisville, local leaders and shooting survivors are speaking out about gun violence.

In 2018, Whitey Austin was shot 12 times while going to work at the Fifth Third Center in Cincinnati and survived. Since then, she’s gone on to found Whitney Strong, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to reducing gun violence.

She sat down with WAVE News to discuss the city’s latest tragedy.

“We should be sending all of our strength and prayers towards the families that have been impacted,” she said.

Strong said the most important thing to her within the 24 hours after she was shot is gratitude.

“For me, I have always found myself to be rooted in gratitude,” Austin said. “Whenever things get difficult, whether it’s stagnation on this issue and no change happening or change not happening as quickly as I’d like, or feeling scared myself about how to put one foot in front of another, I always go back to the gratitude I have for surviving and that I got back to my family. But, as you all know, there are going to be families today that they can’t go to that place of gratitude because their loved ones didn’t survive.”

The country has seen over 100 mass shootings since the beginning of 2023. Austin believes change can only happen if people learn how to come together.

“Mass shootings continue to happen with increased frequency, especially in the last decade,” Austin said. “And we have got to start to think differently about this issue. There are things that we can all do as individuals to prevent incidents of mass violence. But there is also change that needs to come at the legislative level. In order for that latter part to happen, we have got to come together. This is not about divisiveness this is not about guns are good, guns are bad, this is about finding where there is common ground and working together. So if you want to know when change will happen, it will happen when we all come together and work toward a common goal, which is making sure that we don’t live in this world that we have inherited. We should not live in a world in which our children are afraid to go to school. That’s the world we’ve inherited now.”