Late last month Open Media Boston posted an article titled Antiviolence Activists Join City Officials To Launch MBTA-Wide Ad Campaign. The campaign in question was for Operation LIPSTICK, aka Ladies Involved In Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killings, an organization that is attempting to reduce shootings in neighborhoods of color by convincing women to stop buying guns for felons (who are legally barred from owning firearms). LIPSTICK is an offshoot of a nonprofit group called Citizens for Safety, who describe themselves as “a community coalition working to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and youths without abridging the freedoms of law-abiding Americans.” The OMB article is essentially a puff piece. The author, Dave Goodman, expresses some skepticism about the efficacy of the MBTA ad campaign, but none about LIPSTICK or their mission, even claiming that “it’s extremely difficult to question the motivations behind the campaign.”
Unfortunately, it’s actually pretty easy. Even a cursory look at LIPSTICK’s strategy and methods reveals a deeply problematic organization that is likely doing far more harm than good. To see why, read on.