John Jay President Jeremy Travis and Advocates Participate in Community Forum
City Hall – City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Member Inez Dickens and Jackie Row Adams from Harlem Mothers SAVE today hosted a summit in Harlem Hospital to discuss on how to combat gun violence in the community. Participating in the summit were the Co-Chair of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Council Members Robert Jackson and Maria del Carmen Arroyo; Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Harlem Hospital President and CEO John Palmer; CEO and Co-Founder of PAX, Daniel Gross; numerous members of the clergy and anti-violence advocates.
“For many communities across our City, gun violence is an unremitting fact of life,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “It’s time for that to change. We cannot allow tragic events where lives are needlessly lost and families are torn apart to continue. Today, we will have frank and honest discussions about what needs to change. We know the community is empowered and stands ready to rid their streets of violence and death. I want to thank everyone who is participating today, and I look forward to all of our continued joint efforts in fighting crime.”
“We have lost another one of our children to alleged gang violence,” said Council Member Inez Dickens. “Cory Squire, a young father, was viciously struck down. Our children are being maimed and are being killed in pandemic proportions. It must stop now. The health and welfare of our young has always been my top priority. But we must do more. I am going to call on my colleagues, Harlem Mother Saves, law enforcement, our religious community, our service provider organizations to work together with one singular mission, the critical urgency to SAVE OUR CHILDREN.”
“Everyday, we hear about another victim in the growing plague of gun violence,” said Jackie Rowe-Adams, Co-founder of Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. “We must move quickly if we are going to confront this growing epidemic before another senseless act takes the life of another New Yorker. Convening community leaders, parents and elected officials is not just the first step toward sending a message, it’s also the way we will rid our communities of these devastating tragedies. I beg anyone who may know about this crime, if you saw something, say something.”
“Living in a neighborhood where gun violence is a way of life should not be the norm nor should it be a place where we want to raise our children,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Vivertio. “Young lives are being lost to senseless acts of gun violence and we must do everything we can to protect them and also to change the culture of silence that has encouraged so many not to come forward because it is seen as helping the authorities. We need to let them know that coming forward will help those who lost their lives to acts of gun violence will bring them one step closer to getting justice”
“We can make a real difference in reducing gun violence by pulling it out by its roots,” said Dan Gross, Founder of PAX, Real Solutions to Gun Violence. “Opening a dialogue with the communities that have been affected by this epidemic is an essential step in breaking a cycle of violence that has claimed the lives of far too many people. I want to thank the City Council for taking this action, and I look forward to a productive summit.”
In February, Speaker Quinn outlined two initiatives in her State of the City Address designed to combat gun violence. They included:
• Legislation to heighten penalties for those who commit gang initiation crime – Current State statutes can require as little as fifteen days in jail for anyone who, as part of gang initiation practices, encourages another person to commit a crime, puts other people at risk of physical injury, or physically threatens another person. The Council bill would create two new statues to increase jail time up to one year for those who engage in this behavior as part of gang initiation acts.
• Engage students in the fight against crime – The Council will partner with the Department of Education and PAX, an anti-gun violence organization, on a collaborative youth-outreach program in 10 city schools. Encouraging students to come forward with knowledge of dangerous activity, PAX will establish an anonymous hotline that students may call to report anyone suspected of having a gun or planning an assault.