Gun violence is one of the most pressing issues in our nation and our great city is in no way exempt. For the past five years, I have worked with many committed groups and organization in our community attempting to address this issue and have advocated for and adamantly contended that “Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis” and it’s changing the very social DNA of our neighborhoods/community.
The way in which neighbors interface is slowly but surely changing. We have senior citizens who are reluctant to go outside, parents who are afraid to let their kids play in their yards and many others who feel that their only option for safety is to remain behind closed doors. Plainly stated, the sense of wellness and safety in some neighborhoods is rapidly eroding for far too many residents. It is critically important to me that we, as a city, work together across all lines, i.e., economic, culture, race, age, gender, etc., to change this dreadful dynamic in the interest of restoring peace and tranquility and preserving a future for next generations.
I am not of the mind that there is just this one solution to addressing gun violence, particularly among our young people. I wholeheartedly believe that there must be a multifaceted approach that allows for addressing this critical issue from multiple angles. More sensible gun laws is a must and so are better education, access to job training and employment opportunities, increase recreational outlets for our youth and infrastructure investment in neighborhoods so that they don’t resemble places of neglect and despair.
First and foremost, we must interrupt the horrible realities of gun violence in our neighborhoods. Second only to that, we must also set our sights on creating and incorporating healing mechanism within the community for the purpose of restoring hope, trust and wholeness for the many hungering for a return to normalcy. The trauma imposed by gun violence has torn families, neighbors and communities completely apart and left parents, siblings and friends with gaping holes of pain and dread that is not easily mended. But we must try and try again and again.
The health crisis resulting from gun violence is real and so is the long term trauma that lay in its wake. We must turn a corner on this problem and do so quickly. We are indeed in a crisis and the health and wellness of our city is at stake!