This summer was, sadly, a season of bloodshed in the five boroughs.
New Yorkers like Denise Gay, Dequan Mercurius, Samayah Bailey, Nicholas Telemaque and Tayshauna Murphy all fell victim to senseless gun violence. These are but a handful of the names we got to know these last couple months through their stories of personal tragedy. There are dozens of other victims you haven’t heard of.
Labor Day weekend was a wake-up call for many of this city’s leaders as to how serious this crisis has gotten. At least 67 people were shot in New York City in a short four-day period; at one point, there were 25 shootings in a 24-hour span. At a backyard party in the Bronx, eight young people were hit by a barrage of bullets. Along the route of the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, four people were wounded and at least another six were maimed in the surrounding area, three of them fatally.
These are the sons and daughters, the mothers and fathers of New York City. Gun violence is not acceptable, nor should it be considered endemic to any one community or area. This is an emergency of the highest level, and for that reason action is being taken.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the Council’s Public Private Partnership recently highlighted the need for more safe places for young people to play across our city. This effort produced the reopening of newly restored tennis courts at Brooklyn’s Boys & Girls High School and a new school playground in the Bronx that was padlocked for nearly a decade because it was dangerously unsafe.
Now the Council is launching a gun violence task force to address this serious problem. As co-chairs of the task force, we are focused on examining the root causes behind gun violence and identifying from where illegal guns are coming into this city. Poverty, education and unemployment all play into the situation facing us, which is why we will be calling on experts from these and other fields to come together.
We also need the voices of those with practical experience in our communities who can help us determine how safe residents truly feel, which includes our youth across the city. Additionally, we will develop metrics to ensure we are truly creating a safe place for our young people to learn and grow.
The future of New York City depends on it.
– Councilman Jumaane Williams represents Flatbush and Councilman Fernando Cabrera represents the Fordham neighborhood of the Bronx.
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