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Why is the National Rifle Association so afraid of the truth? There are many misconceptions about guns and gun violence swirling around in Americans’ minds—and in many cases, this misinformation is no accident. For years the NRA has blocked the truth and actively fought against and prevented research in the causes and costs of gun violence because they don’t want Americans to know the truth about guns, how to prevent gun violence, and how to make themselves and their children safer.
What about the costs we can count? In addition to the trauma that is so deep and pervasive that it is harder to quantify, there are actual costs to gun violence that can be measured and are enormous. Victims and families often find themselves paying a high economic price while struggling with the emotional one, and other taxpayers share the economic burden.
This report is a collaborative effort among the FosteringConnections.org network partners, of with CDF is lead partner for the Kinship/Guardianship network. This report provides an update on the implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.
Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse College’s president from 1940-1967, said this about the kind of men and leaders he expected Morehouse to produce. As a student at neighboring Spelman College, I heard and saw Dr. Mays often and had the privilege of singing in Morehouse’s Sunday morning chapel choir and hearing this great man’s wisdom. Of the six college presidents in the Atlanta University academic complex Dr. Mays was the one students looked up to most. Who are our Dr. Mayses today – our moral compasses in crucial sectors of American life? What a contrast Dr. Mays’ example is to that of a college president in the headlines recently, Dr. James Wagner of Emory University, who was criticized for praising the 1787 compromise declaring that every slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of state representation in Congress as an example of “noble achievement” that allowed Northern and Southern White congressmen to “continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union.”
When many people think about gun deaths in America, the first stereotype that comes to mind is urban gun homicide—a crisis that disproportionately affects the Black community. As a result, too many people assume that despite recurring cases of often labeled “isolated” or “unpredictable” mass gun violence primarily committed by White male shooters, “ordinary” gun violence is mostly a Black problem that is or should be the Black community’s responsibility alone to solve. This is simply not true, although the Black community must mount a much stronger and more persistent voice against gun violence. The fact is that most Americans killed by guns are White, and most Americans who kill themselves or others with guns are White and our nation’s gun death epidemic is not simply a White or Black crisis but an American crisis.
In reality, Mrs. Parks was not only a seamstress but a respected local activist; was willing to work without a spotlight but was not meek or quiet; and did not spontaneously act out of the blue just because she felt tired. Mrs. Parks was neither complacent nor long suffering, and had been fighting for equality and justice years before December 1955. In fact, like most Black people raised under Southern segregation, Jim Crow, and injustice, Mrs. Parks resented them from the day she was born.
February 26 will mark one year since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by a gun wielded by self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman after he saw Trayvon walking home from a 7-Eleven with a bag of Skittles and bottle of Arizona iced tea.
As President Obama closed his State of the Union speech on February 12, after all of his other policy proposals for the nation’s future, he said this: “Of course, what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource—our children.”
On February 8, 2013, the Children’s Defense Fund - Southern Regional Office released a new report, Dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™: Preventing Pushouts in Mississippi Schools. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, gave a call to action on the critical need to reform Mississippi zero tolerance school discipline policies immediately and end the practice of suspensions and expulsions for nonviolent offenses. Edelman and her organization have been working in Mississippi for 40 years and see this as a crisis point for Mississippi children.
hen Myrlie Evers-Williams gave the invocation at President Obama’s January inauguration, she was in part recognizing the vision and courage of her late great husband, Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers, assassinated by a gun 50 years ago. Medgar was a huge inspiration for me. As a 22 year old first year law student at Yale, I traveled to Mississippi during my first spring break in 1961 to reconnect with my friends from SNCC—the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. After the sit-in movement and SNCC’s founding at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Dr. King and Ella Baker pulled those of us who had sat down at lunch counters together from across the South, I decided on the spur of the moment to apply to law school after volunteering for the Atlanta National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and seeing how many poor Black people could not get or afford legal counsel. Few, if any, White lawyers took civil rights cases at that time.