NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, today released statements to mark the beginning of Black History Month, both recognizing the disproportionate impact of gun violence in Black communities and the coronavirus pandemic. Black people in the U.S. are 10 times more likely than white people in the U.S. to die by gun homicide. And, every day on average, 27 Black people in the U.S. are killed by guns and more than 100 experience non-fatal injuries.
Gun violence and COVID-19 are both taking a disproportionate toll on Black communities. There is not a public health crisis in the U.S. that is not made worse by systemic racism and inequalities. The underlying reason is clear: Decades of underinvestment in these neighborhoods have created the environments in which public health crises, like COVID-19 and gun violence, are exacerbated. The disproportionate rates of gun violence on many Black communities leaves memory scars that can alter the choices, health, and life trajectory of children, adults, and the collective community in serious and lasting ways.
“Black people in the U.S. have faced generations of economic inequity and systemic racism while dealing with the disproportionate impact of gun violence and police violence,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Chief Equity, Outreach and Partnerships Officer. “As the rest of the country starts to grapple with its historic and current systems of oppression, Black people in the U.S. continue to lead the fight to protect their communities and families. This February, we’ll be highlighting the resilience of some of these Black leaders and their crucial work on the front lines of America’s gun violence crisis.”
“Gun violence has not stopped during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Mary Snipes, a volunteer with the Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action and a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose son Felix was shot and killed on August 31, 2018 at the age of 29. “Instead, many cities across the country reported a higher rate of gun violence. This means that more Black families and loved ones are joining a club none of us wanted to be part of. We must end our gun violence public health crisis — starting with focusing on communities that are being hit the hardest.”
“Black people have been at the front lines of the gun violence prevention movement for years — fighting for our families and communities while also fighting against white supremacy,” said Ade Osadolor-Hernandez, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Illinois. “We know that the deadly connection between white supremacy and guns traces throughout our history. From the armed mobs attacking and killing Black people in Tulsa during the 1921 massacre to the 2015 mass shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, guns have been the weapon of choice for these groups and individuals. It’s time for lawmakers to fight gun violence in all forms — including white supremacy.”
Gun homicides, assaults, and police shootings are disproportionately prevalent in historically underfunded neighborhoods and cities. This lack of funding intensifies our country’s long-standing racial inequities. Research shows that the disproportionate rates of gun violence on many Black communities leave indelible memory scars that can alter the choices, health, and life trajectory of children, adults, and the collective community in serious and lasting ways. Trauma resulting from gun violence in Black communities reverberates through families and across generations and is overlaid with a history of structural racism and discriminatory policies that both inflict trauma and exacerbate it.
Violence intervention outreach workers, survivors of gun violence, and locally-run organizations are working every day to bring opportunity and healing to communities characterized by high levels of gun violence — but data and resources are needed to support these efforts.
This February, Everytown is honoring Black survivors and recognizing the importance of Black leadership, advocacy, and resilience in the gun violence prevention movement — and is calling on policymakers at every level to prioritize ending this public health crisis in the communities hit hardest by gun violence.
More information on the disproportionate impact of gun violence on Black people in the U.S. is available here. To speak with a policy expert, Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out.