Historically, it’s been older Black men who have taken the reins on ending gun violence in their communities; which is a good thing. But since the signs reading “don’t shoot, I want to live” are not working, there is a need for other ideas that will stop this crisis. So, why aren’t more young Black men taking command on an issue that arguably affects them most?
Young people at Howard University called for change and received it. Now, young Black men in Philadelphia are offering data-backed solutions on how to end the city’s gun crisis.
Nonprofit organization ManUpPHL launched a study that lays out why this crisis matters, their recommendations, and a “zoom out” of the overall gun crisis in Philadelphia and how it specifically affects young Black men.
Board chairperson of ManUpPHL Brian Ellis says this study is important because the “behaviors that drive the city’s gun culture are absent from most research” according to Axios.
The findings of the study resulted from conversations with nine Black men ranging from 19-35 years old who live in communities where gun violence is prevalent.
Develop a program with community groups for incarcerated individuals to serve as mentors to other inmates who will be at risk of violence when they leave prison or jail.
Create 300 jobs for at-risk individuals.
Establish a new educational experience for middle and high school students at risk of gun violence.
Set up mental health substations in communities affected by violence.
Train individuals to connect those engaged in gun violence with resources and alternatives.
What they’re saying: Many anti-violence programs are “not based on the realities of what these men are going through, what these young men have come from, what these young men will respond to,” said ManUpPHL executive director Solomon Jones.
These are important recommendations because they don’t recognize black men as just one singular group of people going through the same experiences. There is individuality among black men and each person goes through unique situations that may cause them to commit gun violence.
Each person needs to be treated differently.
What’s next: Jones called on the city’s corporations, nonprofits, sports franchises, universities and medical schools to take up the study’s recommendations.
City government lacks the capacity to quickly address the violence in Philadelphia, he said.
We’re in an emergency. … There are organizations and people in the community that can make this stuff happen quickly,” he added.
According to the Philadelphia Police Department, homicides have increased by 13 percent from the same time a year ago, with homicides just reaching 491 and on pace to go past 500 by the end of 2021.
More than 80 percent of those homicide and shooting victims are Black. Of the 491 homicides this year, 252 are young Black men between the ages of 18 and 34, as reported by Axios.
Those are appalling numbers, and I would not be surprised if similar numbers were prevalent around the country in Black communities.
Thankfully, the young Black men of ManUpPHL are coming up with concrete solutions; hopefully, other young men around the country can do the same for their communities.