“Cure violence is the solution,” A.T. Mitchell, CEO and founder of Man Up! Inc. told the Amsterdam News. “They can replace guns with jobs in these streets, and that would cut down the violence immediately.”
With over 500 shootings in one month in New York City––a pandemic, protests and unbearable heat notwithstanding––it is a lot for victims, residents, activists and elected to process.
With the disturbing all-night, every night letting off of fireworks already having set the city on edge, confusion about whether it was a gunshot or a Roman candle?
With six shootings in Brooklyn in one hour, one hitting an 11-year-old boy in his leg, Brooklyn Borough Pres. Eric Adams, Lay the Guns Down Foundation, and other anti-violence advocates held a press conference with anti-violence advocates, on Wednesday July 1, outside of Brooklyn Borough Hall on the recently-unveiled mural on “Black Lives Matter Boulevard,” to demand a “comprehensive crisis response by the New York City Police Department and City Hall as Brooklyn has experienced a major uptick in shootings in recent weeks.”
Acknowledging the passage of the city budget––which adhered to the post-police murdered George Floyd demand to “defund the police,” and cut the NYPD budget by one billion dollars––retired cop, BP Adams alongside advocates urged “the NYPD to sustain its commitment to responsible policing and look into how rapidly they are responding to reports of crimes throughout the borough and city.”
According to the NYPD’s CompStat figures, as of Sunday, June 21, the number of citywide shooting victims has risen by over 42% compared to the same time period last year.
“There is no justice without safety, there is no safety with no true justice,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, “We’re not going to accept violent gun behavior, and we’re not going to accept what appears to maybe a slow down in police response to crime. Our communities won’t be held hostage by those who may have bruised feelings because we are saying police correctly and effectively.”
AT Mitchell said: “This is too serious a matter to deal with PR plays. Crisis Management and Cure Violence is the answer. We should talk about solutions not problems. Every year we brace ourselves because we know that the summer months are more violent. Now we have the COVID pandemic, social justice protests, people are depressed, stressed, and some ignorant ones have access to guns and are going to turn on each other. It is compounded, people are overwhelmed. It is not a justification, we denounce senseless violence especially when the innocent and children are involved.”
LifeCamp founder Erica Ford told the Amsterdam News, “It is our duty as citizens to come together to protect the children and make sure they stay. When we see a rash of shootings we know many factors cause it, and many factors can stop it. This intensity is critical, and we know that there are many powers working against peace in our communities. Such as the Counter Intelligence Program. For young people who are involved in incidents their parents should reach out to the Crisis Management System so that we can mediate and interrupt incidents before they get worse.”
Meanwhile, the longtime anti-gun violence activist said, “It is time for a ceasefire, for a pause so we can take care of the bigger picture of racism and injustice.”
LifeCamp colleague Allah Understanding said that in this intense anti-police-violence momentum the issue may be even more insidious than most people are aware.
“Confidential Informants have been known to instigate incidents when the police plan to have a work stoppage because their behavior and conduct is in question,” the activist also known as A.U. added, “The NYPD are highly trained. You have to do your job to protect the citizens.”
Meanwhile, Mitchell said as the shootings continue, “The Cure Violence Global Movement and the Crisis Management System are preparing to unleash hundreds of more boots on the ground for this summer to prevent these sorts of incidents ever playing out. We are going to put 10 times more violence interrupters, conflict mediators, hospital responders and outreach workers all across the city in just a matter of weeks.”
Mitchell said that some of the reclaimed funds from the defunded police budget needs to go to “replicating our services across the city of New York, and employing more credible messengers into these troubled hotspots. These brave men and women go in without guns and badges, they use their influence to help solve the problem before it even happens. We need to have more community centers like the Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center in East New York in troubled areas across the city, they can also make a big difference in limiting crime. And we need more job training, and job placement, and the Summer Youth Employment Program to be reinstated. Replace a gun with a job, that will solve the problem.”