Mayor Eric Adams joined six of his peers from across New York state and gun control advocates, faith leaders and community members Tuesday for a determined start to Gun Violence Awareness Month, which begins Wednesday.
Adams joined Mayors Byron Brown (Buffalo), Shawyn Patterson-Howard (Mount Vernon), Malik Evans (Rochester), Kathy Sheehan (Albany), Wilfred Rosas (Dunkirk), and Robert Restaino (Niagara Falls) at the press conference with Reverend Paul Thomas, Pastor of Buffalo AME Church, anti-gun violence advocates K. Bain, Founder and Executive Director of Community Capacity Development and Linda Beigel Schulman, Founder of Scott J. Beigel Memorial Fund to discuss coordinated efforts to combat gun violence following three weeks of back-to-back mass shootings.
Adams spoke to the importance of ridding the streets of guns, as well as honoring those who have been tragically lost and impacted by gun-related violence.
“This is something that we are all dealing with in our cities,” said Mayor Adams. “This is not a local problem. The shooting that took place in Buffalo is no different than the shootings that take place on Buffalo Avenue in Brooklyn. All across the country we are seeing mayors wrestle with how to address this over-proliferation of guns in our cities. It is time for us to have a united fight against the over-proliferation of guns.”
“No matter the motivation of the person behind the weapon, this is the time we are standing up and saying ‘no more’,” added Mayor Brown during the May 31 press conference. “Our efforts must increase to end gun violence.”
Mayor Brown and other speakers went into detail just how their communities – particularly communities of color – have been affected by mass shootings and gun violence.
“Among the Black Americans polled in a recent PEW Research Center study, approximately 8 in 10 said gun violence is the top concern facing their community,” Mayor Brown continued.
This Gun Violence Awareness Month is of particular significants following the tragic and high-profile mass shootings in Buffalo, New York City, Laguna Woods, Calif. and Uvalde, Texas.
Additionally, hundreds of faith leaders across New York State will be holding sermons on gun violence prevention during the Weekend of Faith (June 10-12) in honor of those who have been killed or injured due to gun violence, as well as supporting their families.
“I pray that we are consciously aware of this mandate to love each other,” said Reverend Paul Thomas of the Buffalo AME Church, as he closed the meeting in prayer. “May our efforts reflect so that awareness may be brought to the effect of gun violence.”
The group of elected officials was also joined by Linda Beigel Schulman, mother of Scott Schulman, a young student who was murdered during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL in 2018.
“We are entitled to our emotions, our feelings, our grief, our anger, our sadness,” said Schulman as she spoke to the immediate need to support communities impacted by gun violence. “Our lives have been turned upside down and inside out. Many many times I’ve been asked ‘when do you think you will get over or get past the sense of loss and grief you feel?’ Let me answer you right now. You never get over it, you never get past it.”