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The New York Amsterdam News, one of America’s most influential and oldest continuously published Black newspapers, serving the nation’s largest Black and brown community, is excited to announce the launch of Beyond the Barrel of the Gun (www.amsterdamnews.com/beyond), a new three year initiative focused on journalism-driven solutions to gun violence in Black and brown communities in New York City and nationwide.
From exploring the root causes of gun violence to documenting the multi-generational impact of this plague on Black and brown communities, Beyond the Barrel of the Gun centers around solutions to a problem falsely portrayed as intractable. For more than a decade the New York Amsterdam News has called gun violence in our communities by its rightful name: a public health crisis.
“We know that gun violence impacts more than just the victims and perpetrators. Each shot fired ripples out, harming families and schools, disrupting businesses and the ability of our communities to function. Each child killed, each mother murdered, every neighborhood shaken tears at our civic fabric, leaving us unable to fight the poverty and racism which keeps our communities down,” wrote Publisher Elinor Tatum in a front page letter in the New York Amsterdam News.
“With our visionary approach we will embed journalists in change making, frontline organizations and produce thought provoking national research and reporting as well as bring together researchers, community leaders, victims, lawmakers, media and the general public to facilitate further change and growth in the hopes of healing the wounds of decades of violence,” she added.
Founded in 1909, the New York Amsterdam News has for more than a century served as a vital voice for New York’s, and America’s, Black and brown communities. The Beyond the Barrel of the Gun initiative continues this tradition and will dedicate itself to investigative and long form journalism which seeks to find solutions to one of our community’s most pressing problems.
“Having represented Harlem for more than 40 years in Congress, I’ve seen firsthand how this longstanding public health crisis has hurt our Black and brown communities. The Amsterdam News, the first to call this ongoing disaster by its name, is the very best media organization to lead this initiative,” legendary retired Congressman Charles B. Rangel said in support of the initiative. “This project taken on by the Amsterdam News, in my political lifelong opinion, is one of the most exciting projects taken on by the private sector…. the problem has been the absence of leadership in our political and spiritual community, thank God for the Amsterdam News’ initiative,” he added.
With generous support from Columbia University’s Lipman Center For Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, our first series will explore the impact of New York’s bail reform law on Black and brown communities.
As part of this project, the New York Amsterdam News will be partnering with a growing list of other publications of color including the AFRO-American, the Houston Defender and the Sacramento Observer in addition to national powerhouses The Trace, the Local Media Association and Report for America.
“The AFRO-American is pleased to collaborate with the New York Amsterdam News on the Beyond the Barrel of the Gun initiative. Gun violence is a serious public health issue that disproportionately impacts Black communities throughout the United States. This innovative approach will do more than just highlight the obvious problem, it will offer holistic solutions,” said Frances Murphy Draper (Toni), CEO and publisher of The Baltimore and Washington AFRO-American Newspapers.
“Report for America is incredibly proud of its partnership with the Amsterdam News, one of the most important and historic community papers in the country. The Beyond the Barrel of the Gun initiative is an important and exciting effort,” said Steve Waldman, the president and co-founder of Report for America.
“The Local Media Association is proud to support the New York Amsterdam News and this initiative. They are a team with deep roots in the Black community and have been shining the light on injustices in Black and brown communities for generations. The LMA team believes that gun violence is one of the defining stories of journalism and more resources and funding need to be devoted to this topic,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of the Local Media Association.
The Beyond the Barrel of the Gun initiative is also gathering support from the labor community.
“Gun violence has taken the lives of countless Black and brown Americans, torn up families and stolen the future from young people. The solutions offered by those in power too often neglect the needs of our neighborhoods and the root causes of violence, focusing instead on growing incarceration and criminalizing our communities. We need a holistic, people-centered approach to address gun violence, and strong investigative reporting to uncover real solutions,” said George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East which represents over 400,000 healthcare workers.
“As the largest union of healthcare workers in the United States, we see this initiative as an important step towards reducing the deadly consequences of gun violence that our members witness every day in emergency rooms across New York,” he added
Beyond the Barrel of the Gun is just the latest manifestation of the New York Amsterdam News’ revival that includes its powerfully reimagined website www.amsterdamnews.com; its acclaimed weekday newsletter Editorially Black; a dramatically expanded Internship program aimed at growing the future diversity of America’s newsrooms; and, the launch of The Blacklight the newspaper’s new investigative unit, the first such unit in a legacy Black newspaper nationwide.
Beyond the Barrel of the Gun will feature multi-platform journalism and community events that will reach new audiences with the essential information they need to stay safe and protected. Community members interested in supporting this initiative can do so by making a tax deductible donation at amsterdamnews.com/donate.