According to a 2014 report from the Children’s Defense Fund, American children and teens are four times more likely to be killed by gun violence than Canadian kids, 13 times more likely than French kids, and more than 64 times more likely to be killed by guns as children in the UK and Germany.
“Something is wrong with that. This is not normal,” said the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds at a press conference outside Pittsburgh City Council chambers Tuesday morning. “We cannot be numb about this, because we have to prepare for our children’s future.”
Reynolds was speaking on behalf of the national activist group Black Women for Positive Change, or BW4PC, at the invitation of Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.
“More (American) children and teens die from guns every three days than died in the Newton massacre over a year ago,” Reynolds added, citing a 2010 statistic from the CDF, which states that nearly 2,700 children and teens were killed by gun violence that year.
Rudiak and Reynolds were joined by Assistant Chief of Police Loretta Bryant, Jay Gilmer of the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime, and local and national representatives of MAD DADS, which stands for Men Against Destruction Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder.
They were gathered to announce the upcoming National Week of Non-Violence, scheduled for Aug. 16-23.
“I ask Pittsburghers to organize activities during this National Week of Non-Violence … to commit to learning and teaching anger management, conflict resolution, and non-violence,” Rudiak said.
The councilwoman spoke about last fall’s shooting at Brashear High School, saying that the student who perpetrated the crime was motivated by an alleged robbery and assault a month prior. She also pointed to the mass stabbing at Franklin Regional High School in April.
“Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, must take this opportunity to sit down with children and youth to ask ‘Are you being bullied in school? What do you do when you become angry?’” Rudiak said.
Governors from six states have endorsed the National Week of Non-Violence, though Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is not among them.
Organizations planning events during the week are encouraged to post information about them on the BW4PC website.