Young NAACP leaders demand solutions to gun violence
The NAACP mourns the loss of three athletically talented football players. Devin Chandler from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Lavel Davis Jr. from Ridgeville, South Carolina, and D'Sean Perry from Miami, Florida were killed on the campus of the University of Virginia in another senseless and tragic school violent shooting. It is heartbreaking to see another young Black man lose his life at the hands of senseless gun violence. African Americans are 14 times more likely to be killed by guns than whites, and among young Black men, gun violence is the leading cause of death. Whether it is a domestic violence shooting or a racially motivated mass shooting — gun violence is taking countless lives, deteriorating our security, and undermining our democracy.
We need solutions that keep us safe.
After the recent mid-term elections in states like Georgia, Virginia, Michigan, and Texas, it is imperative that we hold accountable and call on sitting governors to recognize that one of the top five concerns for all Black voters is gun violence and crime, a concern that needs tested solutions and interventions. The NAACP supported the bi-partisan Gun Safety Bill, passed in June 2022, which serves as an example of the right types of policies needed. We continue to work to support safe, sane, and sensible laws that help prevent gun violence as over 30,000 lives are claimed by gun violence annually in the United States – an epidemic in our communities.
We need bold leadership.
Politicians are responsible for stricter gun control and getting guns off the streets. Gun control requires more than just policing. Gun violence is a social cost created by individuals' inappropriate use of the industry's products that harm others. It should not be so easy to obtain a firearm in the U.S. Gun violence is also a part of a vicious cycle of race and inequities in America. Addressing the root causes must be the priority of our elected leaders.
We need solutions that do not criminalize us.
Ongoing gun violence and crime plague Black communities across the country at a higher rate and so do the disparities that keep these communities in a position of struggle. "Black families send their children to college with the intent for them to strive not to be murdered. Parents struggle to create healthy and safe environments for their children to grow and thrive. Under-resourced schools and medical facilities leave these families behind, and it impacts all aspects of daily life," says Keisha Deonarine, Director of the NAACP Center for Opportunity, Race and Justice. "The solutions have to match the source of the problem."
We need to come together.
Young Black people, especially Black boys, have a harder time escaping poverty and violence. As the next generation of leaders in this country, we have a responsibility to care for, invest in, and protect them. With policy advancements at gridlock on the federal level, we recognize that state and local solutions and interventions are our best path forward. When we come together to collaborate with our Governors who wield immense power then and only then can we turn around this crisis. Our values and our vote demand this!
--Rylan Pendleton, NAACP Leader
Home State: Alabama
--Dominik Whitehead, NAACP Leader
Home State: Virginia
--Carey Walls, NAACP Leader
Home State: Indiana
--Wisdom Cole, NAACP Leader
Home State: California