The Black Women’s Health Imperative has represented the voices of mothers, wives, partners, sisters, and daughters for 35 years. Today we stand together against gun violence like the incident that claimed the lives of 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida this past week. These deaths and all the mass shootings and gun violence that continue to happen are a major public health crisis.
Parkland fell victim to the third mass school shooting in four months in this country. The school shootings get the headlines and focus our attention on the problem– momentarily. But we also want to remind you that every day in an urban area, gun violence touches the lives of our youth, their families and their communities, According to a report from the CDC, guns kill about 10 times more black children than they do white children each year, via murders, assaults and suicides as well as through accidental shootings and in interactions with the police. Look at the major cities in the nation. Look at the gun violence that is taking our youth away from us in cities such as Chicago.
We know that thoughts and prayers alone are not enough to stem the tide of shootings and gun violence. Enough is enough. We must bond together in strategy and in action to protect our children and our communities.
Here are a few things we can all do to make our voices heard:
- Create a groundswell of voices that weigh in on gun control and gun violence.
- Write OpEds, use your social media, host town meetings and invite legislators.
- Write and call your local, state and national stakeholders.
- Ask what’s going on in your school district to see what is being done to keep all our children and youth safe.
- And let’s keep the conversation going.