Gun violence is widely recognized as an issue all around the world but in America the issue reaches extreme levels. According to United States statistics from 2015, there were 372 mass shootings, 64 school shootings and an astonishing total of 13,286 people killed by firearms. Unbeknownst to some, New York State was actually the very first in the country to determine that an entire month should be devoted to gun violence awareness.
In 2013, community leaders and anti-gun violence activists established the Gun Violence Awareness Month (GVAM) and undertook a hefty mission to bring citizens together to discuss ways to make communities more safe. This year National Gun Violence Awareness day was June 2 but the entire month offers efforts from passionate anti-gun violence advocates as they work to raise awareness about a deadly problem.
June is extremely fitting in this scenario as the summertime months bring in the greatest number of gun violence occurrences, often because citizens spend more time outdoors.
"Senseless gun violence is ripping our families and our City apart each and every day," said Public Advocate Letitia James. "As we enter the summer months, which are notorious for increases in gun violence throughout New York City, it is more critical than ever to recommit ourselves to creating safe communities and keeping guns off our streets and out of our homes."
To commemorate the beginning of GVAM, Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo joined forces with anti-gun violence advocates to officially kick off the month-long project while also offering insight about the important initiatives that are being employed.
"In partnership with the de Blasio Administration, Council Members Jumaane D. Williams and Vanessa L. Gibson, I look forward to our continued work towards the creation of the Mayor's Office to End Gun Violence, as our city's dedicated response to such incidents." proclaimed Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.
Among the initiatives is the NYC Go Orange program, which partners with important buildings and cultural institutions around the city inviting them to "Go Orange" to show support. As locals and visitors gaze upon the New York skyline, the GVAM hopes that the bright orange lights and signage will serve as an important reminder about the frequency of gun violence.