'Public Health Emergency': Protecting Youth from Gun Violence
Monday, June 20, 2022
Congress continues to debate possible changes to the nation's gun laws after the recent school shooting in Texas. In the meantime, efforts move forward in Minnesota to establish safer environments in schools and surrounding communities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says gun violence is now the leading cause of death for all children and teens.
Ayolanda Evans Mack - director of community response and education for the group Protect Minnesota - said it goes beyond school grounds, pointing to incidents in places such as North Minneapolis, where young children have been victims of gunfire in their neighborhoods.
She said it doesn't mean these areas are inherently violent, but adds they need help in reducing shootings.
"We call it a public health emergency," said Evans Mack, "and there is a disparity in the ways in which we actually talk about gun safety in Black communities."
She said she feels there's not enough education provided about things such as trigger locks, safe storage or the consequences of straw gun purchases. Instead, she said these communities are simply told to end the violence on their own.
Protect Minnesota has worked to provide some prevention tools in underserved areas. Elsewhere, Ramsey County has expanded its free gun-lock initiative.
As for schools, Stephanie Burrage - deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education - said even smaller-scale incidents on campus can have major effects.
She recalled her own experience while working in the Robbinsdale School District, and the response went well beyond helping students. Burrage had to provide emotional support for a teacher when the school reopened.
"And just to be able to take each step," said Burrage, "and I remember walking with her and I told her and I said 'I'm gonna walk this with you.' Because we do have to be here for the kids."
She said the department is focused on hearing what districts might need in terms of us support, including guidance on safety plans.
Meanwhile, the Children's Defense Fund urges policymakers to rid these environments of opportunities for shootings by adopting common-sense gun reforms.
While the U.S. Senate is discussing a bipartisan package, broader partisan divides remain.
get more stories like this via email
Numerous community advocates are calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build a long-proposed subway station at 10th Avenue and 41st …
Relief may be on the way for many older Nevadans who need hearing aids but can't afford to pay $3,000 to $5,000 for a pair. The Food and Drug …
Workers in Michigan won major victories recently as a minimum-wage increase and employer paid sick time program were reinstated by court order…
Small-business owners and entrepreneurs in a handful of towns across the state have resources at their fingertips to help renovate and reuse historic …
Health and Wellness
Your first heartbreak, accident, loss of a loved-one or being chased by a dog - these and so many other incidents can be lasting traumatic …
A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would place limits on Supreme Court justices in the wake of several of the court's decisions…
The kelp forests off the Mendocino coast are starting to recover with improved environmental conditions, thanks to a conservation program which sent …
Madera Community College outside Fresno is making big plans after being named winner of the Million Dollar Community College Challenge Wednesday…