NEWTOWN, Conn. — As the nation commemorates Juneteenth, the federal holiday marking the day in 1865 that enslaved Black Texans were freed — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln declared enslaved people free, Sandy Hook Promise calls for immediate action to address the disparate impact of gun violence on Black communities.
“As is the case with many other epidemics, Black communities suffer disproportionately more from the gun violence epidemic plaguing America,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “It is long past time to take action to address racial disparities and save Black lives from being taken by gun violence.”
Overall, Black people are twice as likely to die from gun violence than white people, with Black victims of gun homicides increasing by 61% from 2018 to 2021. Suicides by gun for Black people increased 44% during that period.
Black youth are four times more likely to be killed by gun violence than their white peers, with young Black males 18 times more likely to be killed. Young Black males account for 38% of gun deaths, even though they represent only 2% of the population. Black children and teens had the highest gun death rate in 2019. (See statistic sources here.)
As communities/Black communities celebrate the joy of Juneteenth, this day is also an opportunity for allies and organizations to commit to action that furthers racial equity.
“Our collective work to end gun violence cannot succeed if we do not make real, effective reforms at all levels of government to end systemic racial injustice. And that starts with listening to and learning from communities that are most impacted by the problems we’re trying to solve,” said Barden. “We ask public officials, elected leaders and gun violence prevention advocates to join us in partnering with Black communities to ensure that they have the tools and resources to address the gun violence epidemic and save Black lives.”
The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund (SHPAF) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579