For the past year, the Office to Prevent Gun Violence has been on the front lines in the 17 neighborhoods across the five boroughs that account for more than half of the city’s gun violence.
OPGV uses a community-based approach to empower and connect those areas and provide support services for residents “that once were part of gun culture and utilize them as a vehicle to get to young people who may be engaged in current violence,” Executive Director Eric Cumberbatch said.
Some of those residents are now publicly joining the fight to end gun violence in the city thanks to the #PeaceNYC social media campaign, which launches this week and urges all New Yorkers to participate.
“We really felt what was a key missing component in addressing gun violence is the youth voice, the voice of the people that are most impacted by violence,” Cumberbatch explained. “What we wanted to do was really ensure that the messaging was coming from young people, peer-to-peer, that the representation reflects the truth and honesty in community.”
Take part in #PeaceNYC to raise gun violence awareness
New Yorkers can participate in the #PeaceNYC movement by creating their own poster at peacnyc.org. Just upload a photo, give your name and borough, download and share it to social media using the hashtag.
“Most people are looking for opportunities to share their stories,” Cumberbatch said. “They want to hear that their loved ones matter, loved ones that they may have lost to gun violence, and they also want to play a role in preventing someone else from losing a loved one.”
Having worked closely with those who have been most affected by gun violence in New York City, Cumberbatch has “always believed that the communities we work in have more strengths than weaknesses and have organically and historically healed themselves,” he said. “Our role here in government is to lift those efforts to the forefront, resource them and help align them operationally so that neighborhoods could thrive just like every other neighborhood in New York City.”