Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley called Sunday for greater mental health funding a day after a Times Square shooting that left a four-year-old child and two women injured.
Though gun violence has been surging in recent months across the Big Apple, Saturday afternoon’s shooting at the Crossroads of the World seemed to hit a nerve throughout the five boroughs. Images of Times Square of civilians running and police officers running toward the danger only intensified concerns among many New Yorkers about the efforts being made to stop the shootings.
Leaving a Mother’s Day religious service at Brooklyn’s Lenox Road Baptist Church, Wiley described her outrage over the incident as a mother.
“What we know is that we are not sufficiently tackling gun violence in our communities, in our city. Violent crime is up, and public safety is job one. Just like yesterday — the day before Mother’s Day — three people shot in Times Square, a four-year-old. But this not new, and it is not new to me,” Wiley said.
Wiley says gun violence has been a problem far before the May 8 shooting in Times Square, citing a gun prevention platform she released in January to help combat the unrelenting bullets. But she likewise spoke of firearm issues in the hands of both the public and law enforcement.
She believes, as a Black mother and a civil rights attorney, that it is incumbent upon the NYPD to both protect communities from gun violence by keeping illegal weapons out of the city; however, not through controversial racial profiling tactics such as stop and frisk.
If elected, Wiley declared she would invest in “trauma informed care.” By financing mental health services, she believes violence will decrease and graduations will increase. She also named summer youth employment as a key component in keeping young people from engaging in violence.
Wiley told amNewYork Metro that she was devastated after hearing the news of the young victim during Saturday’s shooting.
“A family were shot in Times Square, a place I have gone with my own children, was horrific. It also told me exactly what kind of leadership we need because we have never had a mother as Mayor and I know what it is like to chase after my godson to make sure he texts me, to make sure he got home safely,” Wiley said.
It is clear that Wiley’s focus on mental health is a saving grace in the fight against citywide shootings. It is even more clear that this shooting will alter the course of the mayoral race going forward, but only time will tell to exactly what degree.