Every time a young person is harmed by violence, our nation’s future strength and growth are jeopardized. We are losing our next generation of young people—our future community builders and leaders—to homicide at an alarming rate. Beyond premature death, youth violence causes emotional, academic, and physical scars that limit young people’s potential independence, growth, and success. When the opportunities of our young people are curtailed by youth violence, we all suffer the negative and long-lasting consequences.
Youth violence is not just a law enforcement problem or an issue for schools to address. Youth violence is a public health problem. Public health professionals and other community leaders have critical roles to play in working across sectors to take action to prevent violence. Community members, youth, and adults who care for youth also have important roles to play in preventing violence, and their actions can contribute to the development of safe and supportive communities where young people can reach their full potential.
In June of 2014, Councilwoman Sheffield launched Occupy the Corner- Detroit which aims to pump resources and hope into communities struggling with crime, gun violence in particular, in an effort to curb the number of Detroiters being victimized by this epidemic. Councilmember Sheffield has been joined in this initiative by Mayor Mike Duggan, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, New York Councilmember Juamaane Williams, Michael Brown Sr. of Ferguson, MO, Dominique Sharpton of the National Action Network, and other community and church members.
June Gun Violence Awareness Month
In response to numerous instances of gun violence throughout Detroit and across the Country, Council Member Sheffield authored a resolution to declare June Gun Violence Awareness Month in the City of Detroit. The measure was taken up by City Council and passed unanimously on May 26, 2015.
“There is a proliferation of guns in our community and too many are in the hands of non-law abiding residents who terrorize our community every day. As long as one child or innocent resident of Detroit is a victim of gun violence I must do my part to bring awareness and help find solutions,” stated Councilwoman Sheffield.
The resolution is modeled after other major cities such as New York who have a taken an active role in stopping gun violence in their locales by creating awareness and quantifying the effect on communities and families. As a predominantly African-American City, solving the issue of gun violence must be a priority due to the leading cause of death for African-Americans aged 25-34 being homicide committed by firearm.
“ While I am proud to have led the effort to have June declared Gun Violence Awareness Month in Detroit, our efforts must extend beyond ceremonious proceedings and move into the streets. To that end, we must also realize violence affects our community everyday of every month. Thus, I pledge to stay vigilant on the issue of gun violence and its root causes 365 days a year,” exclaimed Council Member Sheffield.
This resolution, declaring June Gun Violence Awareness Month, will represent the time in Detroit’s History when Elected Officials, Law Enforcement and Detroiters come together to make a conscious decision to eradicate violence from our community and protect our children from peril at the hands of gun wielding criminals.