We concluded our 10th Annual National Meeting of the Liberal Gun Club over the weekend. It was originally scheduled to take place in Chicago, IL, as an homage to our very first national gathering in 2010 in the outskirts of the Windy City. Alas, of course, COVID-19 put a spanner into those plans, and we had to figure out how we could pull it off, using the tools of the COVID trade, and being spread across the many time-zones of these United States.
I am thrilled to report that it was AWESOME. It turned out better than I had any right to expect of a group that had NEVER done a virtual gathering like this before. Our Illinois chapter still took the lead, our tech resources battled to the last minute to figure out how all the pieces fit together and, I am happy to report, that I am exhausted!
The schedule was aggressively full, with sessions starting Friday night and reaching into Sunday evening (eastern time). We leveraged our experience from the last four months of Social Distance Learning classes, using Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, our forums and our relatively newly created, members only, Discord server.
We had panels, special guests, classes and round-tables. We ate and drank together (virtually). We used the tools we have explored since March for a shooting competition. Members in their respective states went to the range together. It wasn’t as great as in person, and we missed out on getting to sample each others gear at the range, and all the benefits close human contact has, but we got really, really, damned close to replicating things.
But, as you may recall, last year we established the Keith Ellis Community Service Award, in memoriam to the late president of our Florida chapter. As part of the award, the club made a donation to Keiths favorite charity, and we asked our members to make whatever donations they could as well. We raised a couple thousand dollars for the Boys and Girls Club, Keiths’s widow was touched, and it was a fitting way to celebrate a great guy and huge contributor to the club.
This year, we got an opportunity to present that award to another contributor the club. Carl Cowanis the 2020 recipient of the Keith Ellis Memorial Community Service Award (Designed by our own Jim Downey at Enlightened Art).
Folks who attended last years Annual Meeting, should remember Carl as our gracious instructor for Stop the Bleed. He’s also participated both in front of the camera and behind the scenes in our Social Distance Learning Series
Carl has been on the front-lines of COVID-19 as a direct first responder as well as managing the response with a major Boston area university, Carl is one of those “quiet professionals” – competent, caring and really good at his job. He also cares deeply about social justice issues, and, I am proud to call him a friend.
Carl’s has chosen the Loveland Foundation as the charity he would like us to support this year.
The Loveland Foundation was established in 2018 by Rachel Cargle in response to her widely successful birthday wish fundraiser, Therapy for Black Women and Girls. Her enthusiastic social media community raised over $250,000, which made it possible for Black women and girls nationally to receive therapy support. Black women and girls deserve access to healing, and that healing will impact generations.
The Loveland Foundation is the official continuation of this effort to bring opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially to Black women and girls. Through fellowships, residency programs, listening tours, and more, ultimately we hope to contribute to both the empowerment and the liberation of the communities we serve.
On behalf of Carl, we’d be grateful that if you are able to contribute, to send some support to them.
Thanks again to all our attendees and volunteers and members at large, thanks in advance for support Loveland and stay tuned for more details on the annual meeting!