Gun violence statistics paint a grim picture of life for many people, but especially those who are young, black and low-income. in May, CDC told That there was a 35 percent increase in firearm homicides between 2019 and 2020, with the largest (39 percent) increase in firearms homicides among black people. Shortly after the CDC report, mass shootings in a predominantly black community in Buffalo, NY, and a predominantly Latino community in Uvalde, Texas, horrified the nation. While politicians seize opportunities to call for major gun reform, gun violence has decimated communities of color across the country for years, and will continue to do so long after the cameras are gone.
Final data isn’t out yet, but chances are this summer will once again be a bloody one for gun violence. Fourth of July weekend once again proved to be one of deadliest day of the year to gun violence, as is the case almost every year. These shootings, some of which make national headlines like the shootings in Highland Park, Ill., but most of them do not, particularly in black and brown communities where gun violence hits hardest. The chain of events that results in shooting begins long before the trigger is pulled, and lasts far beyond that moment. In addition to grieving the lives of lost loved ones and unrealistic dreams, communities often face mental health and financial difficulties, resulting in cyclical challenges that often allow violence in the first place and often, unfortunately, more cause violence. It is clear that economic inequality is the root cause of gun violence, and we must fight for economic prosperity for black and brown people if we are to end this pandemic.
Born in two different generations—with four decades of different life experiences, it is horrifying to think that the persistent issue of gun violence has affected the lives of both of us. That’s why we felt it was important to join forces and call for an end to the madness. We are not the only two who are sick and tired of being sick and tired. The country is battling three mass shootings in the span of two weeks. Americans—most of whom want gun violence laws—are angry.
Legislation addressing access to guns should be part of the solution, but it cannot be the only solution. We need to consider the bigger picture to ensure that black and brown communities do not share a story of inter-generational trauma from gun violence. We need to address the root causes of gun violence, and that requires more than gun safety laws.
This progress must begin with investment in critical resources and programs. Most of the murders75 percent—historically affecting young black and Latino men living in underfunded neighborhoods. In this sense, being young, black and low-income is almost a death sentence. Invest in black and brown people, and we can begin to turn the tide on gun violence, even without Congress.
Economic and programmatic investments could address racial wealth inequalities, including baby bonds, which would require a substantial initial deposit on the part of each child and potentially additional deposits by the government throughout childhood. Child savings accounts are one such solution in which third parties, such as government agencies or nonprofits, provide an initial deposit or other program contribution to build up the account balance. A key component of both solutions is that the funds are restricted to level the playing field for future generations after secondary education, or in some cases, to start a small business or provide a down payment on a home. Will be done.
Direct economic investment alone is not enough for families. Access to quality jobs, safe and reliable transportation, quality childcare and schools are all factors that affect economic mobility. Governments and business leaders should remove questions about criminal history from job applications so that those convicted of misdemeanors and other light sentences have the opportunity to compete for jobs, and ensure that such measures does not result in alternative statistical discrimination, as was found Research from Yale Law School, Transit systems—public and private—must invest in infrastructure to be a reliable means of getting to and from home and work, and other critical needs such as food, banking and health care providers. Public-private partnerships must work to create a better educational environment—whether through research focused on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable students, better pay for teachers to look for jobs, and helping schools with overpopulation to encourage with.
The fact is that economic prosperity can predict outcomes when it comes to gun violence. It shouldn’t be. Black and brown communities are literally dying because they are systematically denied economic opportunity. It’s unacceptable, and we need to act like it’s not. We need a concerted effort to show black and brown communities that we matter – that our health, well-being and lives are vital to the fabric of our nation, and that we will no longer tolerate inaction Or will not give a second cheek to our demise.
Gary Cunningham is the President and CEO of Prosperity Now.
Dawood Moomin is an activist and former board president of the March for Our Lives.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors.