100 Black Men of Syracuse join efforts to reduce gun violence
For more than 15 years, 100 Black Men of Syracuse, a local chapter of the national nonprofit, has been mentoring kids to promote education, economic empowerment and health and wellness. Today, the group says that last pillar has become increasingly important, specifically as it pertains to reducing gun violence.
On June, 100 Black Men of Syracuse will hold a town hall, where panelists will share data on where gun violence is most prevalent, what city officials have planned to address it, and how the community can unify around the issue.
Organization spokesperson J.B. McCampbell says attendees are "also going to see that there's an opportunity to maybe challenge some of the assumptions that are being made about the causes of gun violence."
Especially the assumption that many young black are involved in shootings, said McCampbell, rather than “just a fraction.”
As for greater community involvement, the nonprofit has launched an online survey ("for beating back the tears of gun violence in the Cuse") asking community members to rank what efforts they believe would have the most impact on the problem.
The nearly dozen choices include increased policing; conflict resolution classes; tighter regulations on gun purchases and trafficking; and even stipends for gang members, to help them get therapy, high school diplomas or job placement.
McCampbell highlighted the connection between gun violence and economically depressed areas of the city, and believes the reducing the former would be economically beneficial.
“Whatever we can do to help, where there is one less shooting, one less death, from things that we see are really preventable," said McCampbell.
It's an issue that has affected him personally, with the loss of a family member. Which is why, he says, it's important to teach kids, including those that 100 Black Men mentors in elementary and middle school, that while differences might lead to conflict, they do not have have to lead to violence.
McCampbell says his organization doesn't just want to reduce gun violence, but also the fear of it, so that everyone can stand on any street corner in the city without feeling like "if they're there too long, they could catch a stray bullet."
The town hall is set for June 20 at 5:30 pm. Attendees are asked to pre-register online.