New York — Today, the New York chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding the New York Senate for passing S214A — legislation to help victims and survivors of crime and their families to receive the economic support they need by expanding eligibility and removing administrative obstacles that can make it challenging to receive support.
“Gun violence has severe economic consequences and continues to disproportionately impact communities of color — these communities should not have to endure additional challenges because New York’s victim support systems are inaccessible,” said Pamela Hight, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action and Fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network. Pamela’s son Ya-Quin English, was shot and killed on Christmas Eve in 2013 and her other son, Jermaine Hight, was stabbed and killed on June 12, 2016. “As we approach one year since the Buffalo mass shooting this week, we applaud the Senate for passing legislation to better support survivors in their healing and we hope that the House follows suit so we can get this on the Governor’s desk.”
In the aftermath of gun violence, survivors and families require physical, emotional, and financial support. However, several eligibility requirements make receiving economic support inaccessible for many communities of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, working class people, people with health conditions or physical impairments, and immigrants. Making compensation funds for survivors and their families more accessible is in the best interest of building stronger, safer communities across New York.
Fair access to survivor compensation is a social equity issue. Black men are disproportionately impacted compared to other groups, yet make up a relatively small proportion of those who apply for compensation in the US. LGBTQIA+ victims/survivors often fear reporting to the police which disqualifies them from accessing victim compensation. A national survey of transgender and gender nonconforming people found that 46 percent reported feeling uncomfortable seeking police assistance.
In an average year in New York, 939 people die by guns and 1,991 people are wounded. Gun violence costs New York $11.4 billion each year, of which $301.2 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in New York is available here.