“From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says, ‘I survived.'”

— Craig Scott

About Survivors Empowered

Survivors Empowered is a nationally prominent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization directly supporting and educating gun violence survivors, including most notably the family and friends of shooting victims, as well as shooting survivors themselves. 

Resources include: Survivors Toolkit co-authored with Gabby Giffords, Trauma Therapy Resources, and Mindfulness Courses. Mobile therapy retreats and expansion of the organization’s development and deployment of Rapid Response Teams across the US are planned for 2024.  As Sandy and Lonnie learned firsthand, surviving family and friends need much help to heal, starting with managing the shock that sets in immediately following.

CNN and anchor Anderson Cooper have recognized Sandy and Lonnie Phillips/Survivors Empowered as an uplifting community champion for empowering survivors of gun violence to move forward with their lives. Among other nationally-prominent media, Survivors Empowered has been covered by 60 Minutes, CNN, BBC, AP, and USA Today. Sandy and Lonnie Phillips have co-authored two books, including Forgotten Survivors of Gun Violence: Wounded. 

About Sandy & Lonnie Phillips

Tragically, the 2012 Aurora, CO theater shooting death of Jessi Redfield Ghawi, daughter of Survivors Empowered founders Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, became the catalyst for the organization’s existence.

Like so many other Americans, Sandy and Lonnie had no idea how easy it is for one person to acquire the guns and ammunition to shoot 70 people, 12 fatally, in just a matter of seconds. After their daughter, Jessi, was gunned down in the massacre, they established Survivors Empowered to help those impacted most by gun violence get the help they need in the immediate aftermath as well as down the road.

They filed a lawsuit to hold accountable the arms dealer who sold 4,000 rounds of ammunition to the shooter. Colorado’s gun industry immunity laws prevented their lawsuit from proceeding, and forced the judge to order them to pay $203,000 in legal fees to the arms dealer, bankrupting them.

Like the mythical character Sisyphus who eternally had to push the rock up the hill, they have pushed…and pushed…and pushed to advance their support of gun violence survivors while advocating for such legislative measures as Jessi’s Law, passed by the Colorado legislature this year. It repeals the state’s gun industry immunity law. The federal immunity law still exists.

Pushing the rock up the hill continues every day. Their ultimate aim is to get that rock over the top of the hill and end the ongoing struggle to stem the slaughter of innocents throughout our land.

In Memory of Jessi Redfield Ghawi

“I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift.”

— Jessica Redfield Ghawi (7 weeks before she was killed)

“There are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts, before this, and after this. Sometimes you can feel such a moment coming. That’s the test, or so I tell myself. I tell myself that at times like that, strong people keep moving forward anyway, no matter what they’re going to find.”

 John Hobbes, Fallen

©2024 Survivors Empowered