Activists call for Wall Street to fund anti-gun violence programs

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A man symbolically shoots faux money into the air outside the New York Stock Exchange.
Photo by Dean Moses

Anti-gun violence advocates and elected officials are urging corporations to take an active role in gun crime prevention.

Led by Founder and Executive Director of Community Capacity Development K Bane, neighborhood leaders who are attempting to take an active role in their communities by engaging with youth assembled beneath the ever-looming shadow of the gigantic Star-Spangled Banner hanging from the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning. There, they demanded that the richest companies in America do their part to help end the bloodshed.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams speaks in the shadow of the American flag. Photo by Dean Moses

“Wall Street, if you are really about New York City, here is your opportunity. Here is your opportunity made plain and simple — put your money where your mouth is. Invest in who you have benefitted from for centuries, invest in the communities that you have taken from for generations, here is your opportunity to be involved,” K Bane said.   

Members of the Community Capacity Development are demanding that industries throw some cash behind youth groups and community outreach programs to keep young people off the streets and out of gangs. Feeling that gun violence is prevalent in underprivileged areas due to a culture dating back to and stemming from the slave trade, demonstrators feel it is past due for those who have benefitted from Black labor and give back to Black communities.

While politicians like Public Advocate Jumaane Williams hammered home that there is no justification for ever firing a weapon in public, he does believe it has a root cause.  

With fists held high, they marched. Photo by Dean Moses

“You can make a direct link between the things that happen here and violence in community, that is not a hyperbole, because we know a lot of the street violence that occurs are based on economics and people trying to survive. Don’t be confused, that does not make an excuse for people to shoot in the community—we make no excuses for that. But if you look back at the history of our country, guns were at one time viewed as tools and when that era ended, they decided that we can’t have people stop buying guns, so we have to make it a part of Americana. So, we now are victims of an awesome marketing tool, and we now have a demonic obsession with guns. The iron pipeline is directly from Wall Street,” Williams said, gazing up at the American flag hanging off the New York Stock Exchange building.       

The group marchers toward Battery Park. Photo by Dean Moses

With a promise to return if Wall Street does not aid in the continued fight against the gun violence epidemic, the group marched with fists held high and booming chants “Guns down, life up!” until they reached Battery Park. 

However, with all the talk of what still must be done, Brooklyn Councilman and Democratic candidate for Comptroller Brad Lander thanked those who are actively attempting to make the Big Apple a safer place amidst such a shocking reign of unrelenting gunfire.

“Mostly, thank you to the folks who are out there every day this summer doing the work, keeping people safe, taking risks, showing real courage,” Lander said.          

Brad Lander recognized those who are working to make the city a safer place. Photo by Dean Moses