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Giving Compass' Take:
· Center for American Progress created a report discussing the devastating impacts guns and gun violence have had on America's schools and youth and how young activists are working together to find solutions and advocate for reform.
· What policy options are available to reduce gun violence? How can nonprofits address the issue of school safety?
· Read more about America's youth activism.
On February 14, 2018, 14 students and three staff members were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by a single shooter armed with an assault rifle. This horrific massacre galvanized the nation’s attention to the issue of gun violence, particularly as it affects young people in this country. However, the scope of gun violence as it affects America’s youth is much vaster than this most recent mass shooting. Gunfire has officially overtaken car accidents as one of the leading killers of young people in the United States. As of publication time, since the beginning of 2018, 820 teens ages 12 to 17 have been killed or injured with a gun. As mass shootings become more common and more deadly, a staggering 57 percent of teenagers now fear a school shooting.
The epidemic of gun violence against America’s youth is more than just a disturbing data point. For each bullet fired, there are multiple stories of lives changed forever. When he was just 6 years old, Missouri State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. saw his brother shot in front of their neighbor’s home. Nevada activist Mariam El-Haj witnessed the shooting of her mother by her estranged father, who then turned the gun on Mariam. Oregon youth mentor Jes Phillip’s siblings have all had close calls—she has three younger sisters who were present at the Reynolds High School shooting in Troutdale, Oregon, and two bullets landed next to her brother’s bed when they came through her family’s apartment wall during a neighborhood shooting. Nineteen- year-old student Eli Saldana, a member of the Native American community living in Chicago, was shot on his walk home from work.
These stories of gun violence are all too common among young Americans. The United States’ gun violence epidemic disproportionately ravages young people, particularly young people of color. In short, gun violence is shattering a generation.
Young people should not have to live in fear of being gunned down. Not in their schools, not in their churches, not in their neighborhoods — nowhere. All forms of gun violence need to be eradicated wherever present and elected leaders must heed the calls of the young people leading the movement. The solutions exist, and young people have been loud and clear in their demands. It is now time for policymakers to act.
Read the full article about the impact of gun violence on America's youth by Chelsea Parsons, Maggie Thompson, Eugenio Weigend Vargas, and Giovanni Rocco at Center for American Progress.