Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 4:38 p.m.
"We are building an emergency response team, and we are building a network of professionals so families can call on them, before you call ACS. The same way there is an aggressive media and government onslaught to the swine flu, the same energy and exposure must be put into this gun violence epidemic in our community."
Early Monday morning, wheelchair-bound Stephen Gowins, 39, was shot in the head on Linden Boulevard in East New York. His wife was with him when a young man reportedly ran up and fired the shots. He has not been apprehended. Gowins died at the scene.
"It was cold-blooded," said Mitchell. "This is what we are dealing with. We are in a state of emergency. "If you really want to help the hood, just do it. They try and distract us by saying they will fund a program or an organization, but if you really want to help us, don't tell us you're going to give us money from your budget--cut us a check from your personal account: Those checks clear much faster."
Mitchell suggested that prominent electeds like Paterson, Smith and Mayor Michael Bloomberg "need to walk the streets of East New York, Brownsville and the South Bronx and look into the eyes of the people and see how bad they are doing. How many more young people have to die before something serious is done?"
Paterson said, "The Senate's initiative recognizes the importance of fighting gun crime through a comprehensive and unified effort. I am pleased that we were able to provide additional funding for Operation IMPACT in this year's budget as well as support Operation SNUG." "Organizations like Man Up and Life Camp are out there on the frontline with little or no resources. It is devastating," said Mitchell. "We cannot be effective without a full-fledged commitment from these community leaders and electeds giving us the necessary funding and services we need to continue."
Smith assured that the $4 million anti-violence funding will be evenly distributed through a "competitive" grants process.
Smith said, "Gun violence affects us all--white or Black, rich or poor. Illegal guns terrorize neighborhoods and tear apart families. For too long, the deadly specter of illegal guns has gone unchecked. In cities across the state, our children are dying at the hands of gun violence, but through our commitment to SNUG, we can put a stop to that deadly trend now and return our streets to their rightful owners, the people of New York."
Smith added, "30,000 people will likely die this year as a result of gun violence, and many of them will be young people. Operation SNUG will provide the support that our local anti-violence programs need and will help us save lives."
Mitchell added that the onus to find a solution rests with everybody. "We're also seeking individual and private funding from corporations and businesses and other money-generating enterprises that benefit from the spending habits of those in the inner cities." According to NYPD Comp-Stat crime figures, there has been at least 138 people murdered in New York City this year.