Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Brooklyn on Wednesday to meet with Borough President and NYC Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams and talk solutions to the gun violence epidemic.
The gun violence prevention community meeting was the first in Brooklyn and was attended by community leaders including local politicians, church and nonprofit leaders.
At the meeting, Cuomo announced more than 4,000 jobs will be made available for at-risk youth in emerging gun violence hot spots in New York City. He said the state was providing funding to create 2,000 summer jobs for youth aged 15 to 24 to keep them employed until the start of school the year, and was partnering with Consortium for Worker Education to provide long-term jobs for 2,388 young people who are out of school and live in the neighborhoods in New York City most impacted by gun violence.
"Gun violence is a complex issue that needs a different response if we want to end it once and for all," Cuomo said. "A key piece of this response is getting to young people before they enter the pipeline of the system and stopping the cycle of violence before it even starts."
He said that would take more than one initiative, "we need to empower community groups and give them the tools and resources they need to reach young people and intervene, and that's exactly what we're doing here in East Brooklyn."
The local leaders, including Senator Zellnor Myrie, Assemblymembers Diana Richardson and Latrice Walker and Pastor Gil Monrose, agreed on several initiatives to tackle ongoing gun violence amongst at-risk youth.
Those solutions including creating up to 900 jobs for youth in East Brooklyn, including 415 summer jobs and 485 long-term jobs placed by CWE; establishing summer programs for youth in East Brooklyn, including 100 dedicated events at Shirley Chisholm State Park; hiring new violence interveners to work at existing community intervention programs in the East Brooklyn community and increasing the intervener staff at Brookdale Hospital to allow for 24/7 coverage; and expanding community services and assistance for mental health support, substance abuse treatment and family crisis intervention.
Earlier this month, Cuomo declared a gun violence disaster emergency, which treats gun violence as a public health crisis and uses short-term solutions to manage the immediate gun violence crisis, as well as long-term solutions that focus on community-based intervention and prevention strategies.
The disaster emergency allows the State to expedite money and resources to communities so they can begin targeting gun violence immediately.
Adams said it was important that the state and country realized gun violence as a public health emergency and put money into the hot-spots' crisis management teams, as well as redefining the ecosystem of public safety and where police fit in that system.
"Many of us in this room, we're insulated from it. If I were to ask you, 'do you know someone who was shot and killed in the last year?' your hands won't go up.
"Go into a classroom in Brownsville and ask a classroom of students. 'How many have you lost someone to gun violence? How many of you lost a family member who was shot?' You will get eight out of 10 of those children raised there. Those are the people we have ignored," he said.
"We've normalized, violence in our city and the feeders of violence in our city and then our entire country."
Senator Zellnor Myrie, who is behind the new law that removes the gun industry's immunity from civil lawsuits, said the issue wasn't about politics, photo ops or a press release.
"This is about the people of our community. The grieving mothers, the families that can't sleep at night, our children that have been lost to bullets day after day, after day, after day," he said.
"The scriptures tell us that we should be prepared in season and out of season. And too long, it has been a season of violence in Brooklyn. But as the day turns to the night, so too will this season of violence become a season of peace. But it requires all hands on deck."
He added he was grateful to have the governor's resources and power behind stopping violence gun violence, and he said it could be done in this generation.
"We can do it. I believe we can. I know we can. And together, we will."