The DC Book Club: Help us Send This Book to DC

84 survivors. 21 school shootings. 53 years. 1 collection.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You  is a book written exclusively by those who have lived through a school shooting, and offers a glimpse into what life is like in the aftermath. In this book you will find stories from parents who’ve lost children, young people who’ve lost their friends and siblings, students who were wounded, teachers who’ve lost students, and the communities who support them all. It is our belief that everyone in the country should read these stories to truly understand the consequences of continued inaction.  And as more and more people are heeding the call for a solution, this book will be a companion to those working hard to understand what these shootings do to a community.

That's where you come in.

We're starting a book club for our United States Senators, and we've chosen this as their first and only read!

Help us get this book in the hands of those with power to make change. Our goal is to send a copy of If I Don’t Make It, I Love You to each sitting United States (US) Senator. Together, we can offer powerful insight into the ripple effects of trauma in the aftermath of a school shooting, and share perspectives of what it’s like for communities, families, parents, husbands, wives, first responders, and more to live and persist.



For every $50 we raise, a US Senator will receive a hardcover copy of If I Don't Make It, I Love You.

Their book will contain a personalized membership card asking for their commitment to this issue. The card will also urge the senator to read the book, and to tweet or facebook us using #DCBookClub once he/she has done so. 

Any additional donations will go towards shipping or travel costs for the editors or contributors to attend readings or conferences, which helps with our only goal: to get these stories in front of as many people as possible.


In the months before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, we discussed ideas for a new anthology.  It quickly became clear that gun violence, and those left in its wake, was of particular interest to both of us.  For Amye, Sandy Hook changed everything, as it did for many parents across the country.  Her twin daughters were the same age as the children murdered on that day, and she has been advocating for change ever since.  And for Loren, she’d been writing about trauma for years after her own experience with sexual violence.  She’s been interested in how individuals recover through the use of personal story, and has delivered many workshops on writing to heal.

​So, we started our project with what we thought was a simple question: What happened to those who survived Columbine? 

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You answers that question by presenting primary accounts written exclusively by survivors of, and those most affected by, school shootings. The Washington Post recently reported that more than 228,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine,  and that number doesn’t take into account the parents, siblings, teachers, librarians, and community members also directly affected. There are whole communities grieving and whole generations altered by the trauma from these tragedies. These are their stories. Those who have lost a loved one, those who were first on the scene, those community members who helped the families grieve, those students who by some miracle escaped. 

The book will be released by Skyhorse Publishing on September 3, 2019. All books will be sent after that release.

*A portion of the proceeds from this book will go directly to groups supporting gun violence survivors.


University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, August 1, 1966
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, November 1, 1991
Bard College at Simon's Rock, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, December 14, 1992
Thurston High School, Springfield, Oregon, May 21, 1998
Columbine High School, Columbine, CO, April 20, 1999

Los Angeles Jewish Community Center, August 10, 1999
West Nickel Mines School, Bart Township, Pennsylvania, October 2, 2006
Virginia Tech, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia, April 16, 2007
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, February 14, 2008

Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida, March 6, 2012
Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012
New River Community College, Dublin, Virginia, April 12, 2013
University of California, Santa Barbara, California, May 23, 2014

Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon, October 1, 2015
Marshall County High School, Benton, Kentucky, January 23, 2018
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018
Great Mills High School, Great Mills, Maryland, March 20, 2018
Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018


Loren Kleinman and Amye Archer are co-editors of If I Don’t Make It, I Love You. They are creative writing teachers with almost a decade of experience helping people tell their stories.

Amye Archer  joined Moms Demand Action in January 2013. Her twin daughters, Samantha and Penelope, turned six years old two days before the Sandy Hook shooting. That day changed something inside of Amye, as it did for many parents and Americans, and she began to write a lot about it. Since then, Amye has been a constant voice and advocate for gun sense, and like many, have found herself heartbroken and frustrated. Amye holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction, and her memoir, Fat Girl, Skinny, was named runner-up for the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award. Her work appeared in Brevity, Longreads, Creative Nonfiction, Hippocampus, PANK, Provincetown Arts, and more.  Check out Amye’s books here. You can follow her on Twitter at @AmyeArcher and @IfIDontTheBook.

After struggling with the words to tell the story of her rape, Loren Kleinman  began studying trauma and its narratives. While working on her graduate thesis at the University of Sussex her research revealed a connection between the act of recording trauma and healing. She discovered that such a recording/writing gives trauma life, allows the trauma to die, and allows the victim to transform into survivor. Her writings about trauma, including topics on suicide, body image and identity, and the power of hope and forgiveness have appeared in Ms., The New York Daily News, the Huffington Post, Ploughshares, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Woman’s Day, Seventeen, Romper, Good Housekeeping, BUST, USA Today, and more. Her short film, Suffering Is the Easy Part, directed and produced by Jaime Ekkens has been film festivals around the world and won the ASIFA East Award for writing. Loren’s website is: Check out Loren’s books here. You can follow her on Twitter at @LorenKleinman  and @IfIDontTheBook.

**We would like to thank you for your help with this initiative. The contributors poured their hearts into this project, and their voices deserve to be heard. We thank you so much for your generosity.

Current United States Senators:

Shelby, Richard C. (R-AL)       

Jones, Doug (D-AL)    

Sullivan, Dan (R-AK)  

Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK)         

Sinema, Kyrsten (D-AZ)         

McSally, Martha (R-AZ)         

Cotton, Tom (R-AR)   

Boozman, John (R-AR)          

Harris, Kamala D. (D-CA)       

Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA)       

Gardner, Cory (R-CO) 

Bennet, Michael F. (D-CO)    

Murphy, Christopher (D-CT)   

Blumenthal, Richard (D-CT)  

Coons, Christopher A. (D-DE) 

Carper, Thomas R. (D-DE)     

Scott, Rick (R-FL)       

Rubio, Marco (R-FL)  

Perdue, David (R-GA)

Isakson, Johnny (R-GA)

Schatz, Brian (D-HI)   

Hirono, Mazie K. (D-HI)          

Risch, James E. (R-ID)

Crapo, Mike (R-ID)     

Durbin, Richard J. (D-IL)         

Duckworth, Tammy (D-IL)     

Young, Todd (R-IN)    

Braun, Mike (R-IN)    

Grassley, Chuck (R-IA)           

Ernst, Joni (R-IA)        

Roberts, Pat (R-KS)    

Moran, Jerry (R-KS)   

Paul, Rand (R-KY)

McConnell, Mitch (R-KY)

Kennedy, John (R-LA) 

Cassidy, Bill (R-LA)

King, Angus S., Jr. (I-ME)

Collins, Susan M. (R-ME)

Van Hollen, Chris (D-MD)

Cardin, Benjamin L. (D-MD)

Warren, Elizabeth (D-MA)

Markey, Edward J. (D-MA)

Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI)

Peters, Gary C. (D-MI)            

Smith, Tina (D-MN)   

Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN)

Wicker, Roger F. (R-MS)

Hyde-Smith, Cindy (R-MS)     

Hawley, Josh (R-MO)             

Blunt, Roy (R-MO)

Tester, Jon (D-MT)

Daines, Steve (R-MT)

Sasse, Ben (R-NE)     

Fischer, Deb (R-NE)   

Rosen, Jacky (D-NV)  

Cortez Masto, Catherine (D-NV)       

Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH)       

Hassan, Margaret Wood (D-NH)       

Menendez, Robert (D-NJ)      

Booker, Cory A. (D-NJ)           

Udall, Tom (D-NM)

Heinrich, Martin (D-NM)

Schumer, Charles E. (D-NY)

Gillibrand, Kirsten E. (D-NY)

Tillis, Thom (R-NC)

 Burr, Richard (R-NC) 

Hoeven, John (R-ND) 

Cramer, Kevin (R-ND)

Portman, Rob (R-OH)

Brown, Sherrod (D-OH)

Lankford, James (R-OK)

Inhofe, James M. (R-OK)

Wyden, Ron (D-OR)

Merkley, Jeff (D-OR)

Toomey, Patrick J. (R-PA)

Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D-PA)

Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI)

Reed, Jack (D-RI)

Scott, Tim (R-SC)

Graham, Lindsey (R-SC)

Thune, John (R-SD)

Rounds, Mike (R-SD)

Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN)

Alexander, Lamar (R-TN)

Cruz, Ted (R-TX)

Cornyn, John (R-TX)

Romney, Mitt (R-UT)

Lee, Mike (R-UT)

Sanders, Bernard (I-VT)

Leahy, Patrick J. (D-VT)

Warner, Mark R. (D-VA)

Kaine, Tim (D-VA)

Murray, Patty (D-WA)

Cantwell, Maria (D-WA)

Manchin, Joe, III (D-WV)

Capito, Shelley Moore (R-WV)

Johnson, Ron (R-WI)

Baldwin, Tammy (D-WI)

Enzi, Michael B. (R-WY)

Barrasso, John (R-WY)          

**Books will be sent in alphabetical order by state.


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Fundraising team: DC Book Club (3)

Loren Kleinman 
Jersey City, NJ
Amye Barrese Archer 
Team member
Loren Kleinman Hanks 
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