In a highly misogynistic and racist society, it is easy for women — especially black women — to lose their sense of empowerment. Javondlynn M. Dunagan is having none of that, however!
In an effort to give women a sense of empowerment, Dunagan has decided to take matters into her own hands and has created a safe space for women to regain their strength, according to DNA Info.
To do so, Dunagan opened JMD Defense & Investigations on Chicago's South Side. There, she teaches other women how to handle a variety of firearms.
This may surprise you, but Dunagan used to be afraid of guns herself. Though she spent her career working as a probation officer, she never carried a gun.
“I used to look at a gun and think it was just going to jump off the table,” said Dunagan. After divorcing her husband, who was a police officer, she realized she had to overcome that fear because “I felt uncomfortable not having a gun in the house."
She began to take shooting classes in 2013, and one thing led to another.
“I said, ‘I’m going to tackle this fear and start carrying a gun, and I’m going to get over this,’ and it turned out I fell in love with firearms,” she added. As she started to practice at gun ranges, she noticed the lack of women, especially black women.
So after retiring in 2016, Dunagan opened her own gun club, one that caters exclusively to women.
“I said if I used to be afraid of guns and now I’m loving this, I’m certain there are other women who have this same fear, and so I started talking to other ladies, and it was the same thing,” Dunagan said.
And she was right! Her club now has 17 members who meet twice a month!
“It’s a small setting, so you don’t get in the crowd, and you can interact with the instructor," club member Sheryl Franklin told DNAInfo, "They take the time to break down how to handle the different firearms and how to be safe, which is most important.”
“That really impressed me,” Franklin said about the fact that her instructor was a woman. “I was excited about it because there was finally someone who understood my fear of guns, overcame it and was now sharing that with women.”
In addition to the normal shooting course, there’s “Mommy and Me Self Defense” classes for girls and separate self-defense classes each for adult women and college-bound teen girls.
“We all need to learn something and take responsibility for our own defense,” Dunagan concluded.
For my women South Side Chicago Blavity fam, if you'd like to learn more about Dunagan's efforts and register for a class, head to her website!