February 1, 2021 Blog

Honoring Black History Month and National Gun Violence Survivors Week

Today is an important day. It marks the start of Black History Month and the start of National Gun Violence Survivors Week. 

By early February, more people are killed by guns in the United States than are killed in our peer countries in an entire calendar year. 

National Gun Violence Survivors Week is a time to honor every life that has been impacted by gun violence, from the nearly 40,000 people killed annually to the 100,000 people wounded each year to the countless others who experience the trauma of shootings or who have lost a loved one to this epidemic. The impacts of gun violence are far reaching and long lasting. You do not have to be shot to be a survivor of gun violence. 

We know that gun violence impacts all of us, but it does not impact us equally. As Black History Month begins, we want to underscore the disproportionate toll gun violence takes on Black communities. Black people make up 13 percent of the population in the United States but more than half of all homicide victims. 

This disparity has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has hit Black communities hardest. Across the country, Black families and communities are simultaneously bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis, the scourge of police violence, and the gun violence epidemic. 

This month serves as a reminder that the history of gun laws and the current gun violence crisis cannot be separated from white supremacy and systemic racism. It offers an opportunity to remember that working to end gun violence must include working to end anti-Black racism and dismantle white supremacy, that we cannot end gun violence without ending police violence, and that we must also be willing to examine our own practices and biases to be meaningful accomplices in this fight. 

Today, we recommit to that work and invite you to do the same.