Activists declare war on gun violence

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff and NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 6/6/2019, 12:06 p.m.
June is Gun Violence Awareness Month and activists around the city continue their annual call out for a cease fire, ...
National Action Network Peace in the Streets March National Action Network photo/Twitter

Attendees included several NAN leaders, Youth Over Guns, LIFE Camp, Street Corner Resources, Women’s March Youth Empower and CannaClusive. The family of late rapper Nipsey Hussle also attended the march. Hussle was fatally shot in Los Angeles in March.

On Tuesday, several anti-violence organizations including Save Our Streets and GMACC came together for a rally at the municipal building in Lower Manhattan to kick off Gun Violence Awareness Month. The event was in collaboration with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

Several people shared stories about how gun violence impacted their lives and community. Yandy Smith from VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop” attended and spoke at the rally.

“What we need to do now is actively figure out ways to get these young people involved so they won’t pick up a gun,” she said.

Speaking for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, Raul A. Contreras told the Amsterdam News, “A life lost to gun violence is tragic and unacceptable. Under this administration, we launched the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun violence and continue to expand the Cure Violence program to prevent these senseless acts from happening. Our efforts have decreased shooting incidents in New York City, and we won’t rest as we continue to create a safer city.”

Contreras said that in “2015, the City experienced more than 1,100 shooting incidents per year. Today, we have fewer than 800 due to activating both justice and community efforts to prevent these incidents from happening.

“The Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence coordinates a series of community based violence intervention and support systems that are simultaneously operating across 21 communities throughout the five boroughs that account for upward of 50 percent of NYC’s shooting incidents.”

The mayor through his spokesman praised the cure violence groups who stay on the ground in the community as violence interrupters, and peacemakers.

“Collectively, this initiative is known as the New York City Crisis Management System which deploys violence interruption services through an enhanced version of the Cure Violence Model, including additional social service support such as job training, conflict mediation in school settings, mental health services, employment, legal aid services, hospital outreach, workshops and post discharge programming in city jails and secured detention facilities along with linkages to institutions of higher education.”