June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month — and organizations in Brooklyn are using the four weeks to amplify their ongoing efforts to end gun violence and promote gun safety.
This year’s Gun Violence Awareness Month comes as the community is still recovering from the shocking April 12 mass shooting inside Brooklyn’s 36th Street subway station. Since then, and in the wake of a tragic mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, tensions around gun control have grown in all five boroughs — as has the pressure on government officials to change.
Moms demand actiona self-proclaimed “grassroots movement” advocating for public gun safety, commemorated June 4 National Gun Violence Awareness Day, also known as Wear Orange Day, with a weekend of rallies, marches and other events.
Moms Demand Action member Marie Delus is New York State and City’s “Survivor’s Officer,” meaning she works directly with those who have lost loved ones to shootings. and provides them with resources and platforms to tell their stories, promote their events and speak with local leaders.
Delus also helped organize the group’s annual march, held in conjunction with other anti-gun violence community groups on June 4, from Foley Square at Cadman Plaza.
“The march means a lot to us because not only are we stopping gun violence, but we are showing the faces of those who have lost their loved ones,” Delus told the Brooklyn Paper, noting that the march was once known simply as March Across. the Brooklyn Bridge.
“We changed it to ‘Walking with Survivors’ because as we move forward and start noticing more survivors of gun violence, we actually wanted to make sure that our focus wasn’t just violence. armed, but survivors of gun violence,” she said.
A survivor herself, Delus is passionate about giving people a space to share about their lost loved ones.
“I lost my nephew to gun violence. His name is Pierre-Paul Jean Paul and I lost him on November 11, 2008,” she said. Empathy and telling the story is about showing people that gun violence has an impact, that we lose families, loved ones, entire generations. That’s what that means to me.
Delus and his group were also present on June 6, when Governor Kathy Hochul signed a historic legislative package to immediately strengthen the state’s gun laws. The slate of bills signed by Hochul will close critical loopholes exposed by shooters in Buffalo and Uvalde, and “protect New Yorkers from the scourge of gun violence that continues to infect our nation and endanger our communities.” , according to his office.
“Gun violence is an epidemic that is tearing our country apart,” Hochul said. “Thoughts and prayers won’t fix this, but taking strong action will.”
standing man, another advocacy group, focuses on developing anti-violence with a focus on the city’s youth. Man Up participated in a rally that took place on Friday, June 3 and joined the June 4 “March with the Survivors” on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Another New York-based group, the Lower the weapons foundation, commemorated National Gun Violence Awareness Month by hosting an event as part of their youth series called “Unity in the Community” on June 5 at Pier 17. The civic group invited young men from the area playing basketball games and eating together.
That same day, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy at Windsor Terrace wore orange to commemorate National Gun Violence Awareness Day. According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the school community raised more than $3,000 to support the community at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed on May 24.
The June National Movement brings awareness at a time when tensions over gun control are rising, Delus said. On the heels of an apparent increase in violent shootings — and as New York City still struggles to combat an increase in shootings over the past decade — the community at large is lobbying government officials.
“Everyone is coming together to try to really push legislation to make sure we have gun safety laws,” Delus said.
According to New York SenateThe governor’s 10-bill package, recently signed, “will strengthen gun safety measures and ensure deadly weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands.”
Among other measures, the bills seek to update the penal code to make the threat of mass harm a crime, require the micro-marking of ammunition, strengthen measures to prevent people with criminal histories from obtaining firearms and ammunition, allow health care providers to place extreme risk protection orders, and strengthen regulations for high-capacity ammunition, power devices, and body armor.
Thomas DiNapoli, the New York Comptroller, agreed with the majority of state lawmakers.
“Gun violence in our country has escalated and hurts too many families. From a grocery store in Buffalo to an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas; this scourge knows no geographic boundaries,” DiNapoli said in a statement. The gun control bills signed into law by Governor Hochul today are common sense measures that will help keep our communities safe and give law enforcement more tools to prevent access. easy to firearms.”
He added that signing the bills was “an important step,” but there is still work to be done.
“We must do much more to address the gun violence, racism and mental health issues that have contributed to these tragedies,” he said.
And while the governor has won the support of various state and city lawmakers to push through the legislative package, some opponents say they are just “election year talking points.”
“This package of bills does nothing to truly address the underlying mental health crisis at the center of the problem or invest in making our schools safer,” New York said. Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy in a statement. “If Hochul and legislative leaders cared about gunshot victims, they would vote today to repeal their disastrous bail laws that have delivered our streets to violent criminals.”
Citywide, crime is up year-to-date, according to police department data, but shootings are down slightly in all five boroughs. Still, those numbers — 592 shootings reported so far this year, down from 535 this time last year — stand out from the all-time lows New York hit in 2018 and 2019 (the number of shootings in the second half of 2019 was the lowest number for a six-month period in the era of CompStat, the online measure used to track crime in the Big Apple).
Less than a month into his term as mayor, Mayor Eric Adams released a “Blueprint to End Gun Violence” in New York City, a roadmap that calls for both intervention and prevention “to end the epidemic of gun violence affecting New York City”.
And since his inauguration, Hizzoner says he has participated in countless crucial conversations about gun safety.
“So far this year, our country has witnessed nearly 250 mass shootings, including recent ones in Buffalo, Uvalde and Philadelphia,” the mayor said, speaking in support of the “Protection of our children” – a list of eight bills passed by Congress on Thursday, June 9, aimed to strengthen national gun laws. “This epidemic is affecting everyday people, in every corner of New York and across the country.”
With June far from over, Brooklynites still have many opportunities to be part of the local movement against gun violence. March for our lives — an organization created by students — will host its annual gathering this Saturday, June 11.
According to organizers, a central march will take place in Washington DC with simultaneous rallies across the country. The Brooklyn Rally will take place at Cadman Plaza Park from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, visit the official website march registration site.