Our Purpose

One Aim Illinois values the voices of those who understand the impact of gun violence firsthand. Their passion for justice, remembrance, and the prevention of future tragedies drives our mission.

The One Aim Survivors Council empowers gun violence survivors across Illinois to effect change by forming a strong statewide network of people working to end gun violence.

The goal of the council is to bring survivors together in a safe space to share their experiences and discuss the need for advocacy, ensuring that they are collectively and individually celebrated, engaged with, heard from and respected.

A Matter of Statewide Concern

– In Illinois, gun violence is the number one cause of death for children.
– On average, one person dies every five hours from gun violence.
– The total state-wide gun death rate has increased 77% over the last decade compared to a 39% increase nationally.
– On average, 1,606 Illinois residents die from gun violence and an additional 2,715 are injured every year.
– Black residents are more than 37 times more likely to die from gun homicide than white residents.
– 84% of homicides involve a firearm.

What We Do

While the Survivors Council is a project of One Aim Illinois, the survivors who participate are members of different organizations and bring with them insights from across many communities. It is our goal to partner with a robust network of allies. We seek to empower survivors by:

-Hosting quarterly meetings that highlight information and resources specific to survivors’ needs;
– Partnering with organizations to create safe and unique spaces for survivors to network and discuss their own projects;
– Facilitating conversations where survivors tell their stories to create social or legislative change;
– Participating in coalition work that provides organization, education, and advocacy training to survivors free of charge.

Our History

The One Aim Survivors Council was founded in 2021 by survivor and activist Thomas Vanden Berk. Vanden Berk has turned the pain of losing his son, Tommy, into purpose by fighting to end gun violence and all its causes.

After forming the Gun Violence Prevention PAC, Vanden Berk wanted to create a space where he could partner with fellow survivors of gun violence through respectful dialogue, training, and advocacy. The One Aim Survivors Council gives survivors a voice as they inspire action through their stories and perspectives.

Click here to learn more about Thomas Vanden Berk and his work.

Voices of Change

Change is possible when we heed the voices of survivors.

Victims of gun violence and their family members took part in a powerful “Voices of Change” video series. Members of this campaign remain actively engaged with the One Aim Survivors Council.

Click here to watch their interviews and learn more about their life-saving advocacy work.

Additionally, December 2022 marked our 9th National Vigil for All Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence. We encourage you to watch a recording of this occasion for reflection and remembrance.

A Toolkit for Gun Violence Survivors and Allies

From healing to action, we hope that this toolkit introduced by Giffords.Org provides help and hope to move forward.