WAVE Educational Fund focuses on gun violence prevention education and awareness, community engagement, and policy through an equity lens.

WAVE fills a vital role rallying public support, pressing for action, and giving people across our state a place to turn for trusted information and bold leadership on gun violence prevention policies.

WAVE volunteers outside of Respresntative Ott's office

Advancing Public Policy

We work at the local, state and federal levels to push for lifesaving, evidence-based policies and laws that will keep us safe and support peace. 


Based on public enthusiasm, WAVE’s legislative allies in Wisconsin introduced a wide array of gun violence prevention bills, including bills on every one of our top policy priorities. 

In September, over 100 people enthusiastically attended our Gun Violence Prevention Day of Action at Wisconsin’s capitol.

Legislators in historically red and purple districts reported that they were increasingly hearing about the need for gun violence prevention policies from their constituents, and we saw a substantial increase in bipartisan cooperation. 

At the federal level, we were honored to begin a partnership with the brand new White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. 

We continued to lead a coalition to champion Community Violence Intervention (CVI) programs and supported Racine and Green Bay as they created new CVI programs in their cities.


WAVE worked with Wisconsin state legislators and the governor’s office to ensure that every reckless gun bill passed by our state legislators was vetoed. 

Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in nearly 30 years. The White House invited several of WAVE’s staff to come to the White House and help celebrate the signing of the bill into law. The law will help reduce interpersonal violence by advancing background checks, extreme risk protection laws, community violence interruption programs, and disarmament of domestic abusers.

We advocated for the installation of a new Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) director, and in July, Congress confirmed a director for the first time since 2015.

We also successfully urged the city of Racine to hire their first city violence prevention manager and the city of Kenosha to apply for violence intervention funding from the state of Wisconsin.

We promoted Milwaukee County Referendum #1, which urges state legislators to pass an assault weapons ban in Wisconsin. The referendum passed by a wide margin.

Community Engagement

WAVE’s supporters actively participate in our work for gun violence prevention, justice, and democracy. We come together to support one another in person and at virtual events. We host film screenings, memorials, rallies, and educational presentations. We support civic engagement and help educate the public about important issues like voter registration and voting.

WAVE also frequently takes part in events hosted by partner organizations. We especially seek to partner with and support Black- and Brown-led organizations focused on gun violence prevention, equity, and civic engagement.


In May, WAVE assisted Forward Latino and 80% Coalition in hosting an Emergency Gun Violence Summit, which was attended by over 250 people. WAVE’s executive director, Jeri Bonavia, gave the keynote address, and WAVE’s Policy and Strategic Partnerships Manager sat on a panel. Additionally, we held our annual Peace Through Music fundraiser in person at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn.

In June, we helped organize, host, and publicize Milwaukee’s Wear Orange events for National Gun Violence Awareness Day in close collaboration with several other organizations.

We promoted and participated in many other local events throughout the year to strengthen connections and help educate people about gun violence.


We hosted, partnered on, or sponsored screenings of several films, including The Rebellious Life of Mis. Rosa Parks, When Claude Got Shot, and Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.

We participated in community events, including Milwaukee PrideFest and Labor Fest.

Our summer youth interns partnered with 7 different local and national organizations throughout their 8 week program including

  • Uphold 31:8
  • The Restorative Justice Collective
  • Project Unloaded
  • March For Our Lives
  • Students Demand Action
  • Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions
  • Bounce Milwaukee

We amplified the voices of our Black- and Brown-led partner organizations by sharing their events and information on social media.

We attended conferences with partner organizations in the gun violence prevention community, working to establish common language and messaging, and share creative strategies toward reducing gun violence. 

Family smiling at the camera holding a sign that says "We Care"

Education & Awareness

We work to educate the public about gun violence through speaking engagements, attending public events, our email list, and our social media channels.


WAVE staff spoke at a variety of events to raise awareness, including speaking to:

  • March For Our Lives, Marquette chapter
  • Wauwatosa West High School
  • Congress School, Milwaukee
  • Washington High School, Milwaukee
  • Coffee Makes You Black
  • The American Independent
  • Wisconsin Voices
  • Persisters

Additionally, WAVE staff sat on several panels for discussions on effective gun violence prevention policies, and we tabled at public events throughout the year. 

We continued sharing information through emails,social media, and printable PDFs about the causes of and solutions to gun violence.


We presented educational information to Wisconsin-based organizations and their audiences, both online and in person. Educational presentations often address topics including

  • Root causes of gun violence
  • Ways in which historical and current racism have added to the epidemic of gun violence
  • How neighboring states are addressing gun violence
  • Up-to-date information about possible routes to help reduce gun violence 
  • How laws like the Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) offer the gun industry near-total immunity from taking responsibility for lives taken by gun violence, and the need to hold the gun industry accountable
  • Specific actions people can take to help address gun violence in their state and community

WAVE helped educate voters about important deadlines for registration, voting methods, and voter turnout.

The day the Supreme Court released their decision on New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, we hosted a virtual event to educate people about likely implications of this case. The Bruen case has injected confusion into the public landscape regarding how states are able to regulate guns.

See Our Activities and Achievements by Year