Trailblazer: Alec Foster

Making gun violence everyone’s problem.

alex foster
Dustin Snipes

When he was 10 months old, Alec Foster sat in the back seat of his mother’s car with his seven-year-old brother, Evan. Their mother was picking up a soccer trophy for Evan in the Los Angeles–area city of Inglewood when they were caught in the cross fire of a gang-related shooting. One gang member fired more than 75 rounds from an assault weapon, striking the car. Bullet shrapnel entered Alec’s eye, necessitating a cornea transplant. Evan was killed.

In the years since that horrific day in 1997, Foster has dedicated his life to preventing senseless violence. At 10, he told his family’s story to attendees at Women Against Gun Violence’s 12th annual brunch, ending with this plea: “If you see gun violence on the news, you shouldn’t react by saying, ‘I hope that doesn’t happen to me.’ You should react by saying, ‘What should I do to help?’ ”

This article appears in Issue 22 of Alta Journal.

Foster, now 25, graduated from the University of Arizona in 2020 and joined WAGV’s staff the following year. He has tirelessly researched ways to change California’s gun laws. He’s queried 400 sheriff’s offices and police departments in the state about their policies on surrendered firearms and spoken publicly against ghost guns and assault weapons. He testified twice in support of California Senate Bill 906, which passed in 2022 and requires school districts to provide gun-safety education, among other things. And in March 2022, he took over hosting duties on WAGV’s podcast, Bullet Points. “I wanted to make it more personal and passionate and engaging,” he says. “It’s been very poignant and really impactful and powerful, making [listeners] reflect on…what they can do personally to effect change.”

Change at the individual level is essential to Foster, particularly where it “impacts people’s pockets.” He’s compiling a list for WAGV that publicizes any company or elected official who supports the gun industry, to encourage consumers and constituents to take their money and votes elsewhere. Having advocated for gun control legislation at the state level, Foster says his next step is to go nationwide: “It’s important for victims’ voices to be heard.”•

Jessica Klein is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Atlantic, the New York Times, and the Guardian.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Trailblazers