The panelists and host enjoyed the closing sing-along “Where is the love” at the Annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day at CDU where participants wore orange in solidarity.
Observing National Gun Violence Awareness Day at CDU: From left: Incoming College of Medicine Dean Deborah Prothrow-Stith, a nationally recognized expert on stemming gun violence, Avis Ridley-Thomas, co-chair of the Institute for Nonviolence and Adrienne Lamar Snider, Executive Director of Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles (VPC).
Los Angeles – On June 2, 2016, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) honored the second annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day with an on-campus event featuring leaders working to reduce violence in Los Angeles County. Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, incoming Dean of the College of Medicine at CDU and an internationally recognized public health leader, known for her pioneering work addressing violence as a public health issue, moderated a conversation between Avis Ridley-Thomas, Co-Director of the Institute for Nonviolence in Los Angeles, and Adrienne Lamar Snider, Executive Director of Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles (VPC). The event is one of many “Wear Orange” events across the country that include influencers, corporations, mayors, and community organizations.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis and it affects us all,” said Dr. Prothrow-Stith. “Today, CDU starts turning pain into power and anger into action. We are ready to help our community explore prevention-based solutions that will save lives. Our society needs to start doing things differently if we are going to curb gun violence.”
“Mediation throughout the community has been very effective in the de-escalation of disputes,” said Ridley-Thomas.
“Reducing gun violence is about prevention strategies. At VPC, we have found community engagement to be effective and that’s why we work to strengthen the collective voice of advocates and survivors of gun violence. It’s not about checking out, but checking in, “said Lamar Snider. “Together, we can end the violence epidemic in Los Angeles.”
The second annual National Gun Violence Day followed an on-campus shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles the day before. The CDU community was also recently impacted by gun violence a month ago, when 2013 alumnus Alex Anene was murdered.
“Alex’s classmates, faculty and friends have shared that he was a passionate man, a talented writer, a poet, a critical thinker and most importantly a man who showed his love for people,” said Dean Hector Balcazar of CDU’s College of Science and Health.
In 2013, a small group of teens at a South Side Chicago high school asked their classmates to honor the life of their murdered friend Hadiya Pendleton by wearing orange – the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others and a color that reflects the value of human life. They inspired the Wear Orange campaign (wearorange.org), a coalition of more than 200 non-profits, cultural influencers and elected officials working to reduce gun violence in America.
In 2009 and 2010, 1,141 people were gunned to death in the Los Angeles metropolitan area according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 2000-2009, a total of 11,212 Los Angeles County residents lost their lives due to firearm-related injuries. During 2011, the hospitalization rate due to non-fatal firearm related injuries for black male residents of L.A. County between the ages of 10 to 44 was 15 times higher than the rate for their white counterparts. Hispanic male residents of L.A. County of the same age group were 3.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for non-fatal gunshot wounds than their white counterparts. One child or teen dies from a gun every 3 hours and 28 minutes. Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for children and teens ages 1-19.