Washington, D.C., June 18, 2021 - On the 155th celebration of Juneteenth, Brady calls for comprehensive action to address the disproportionate toll of gun violence on Black Americans. The number one killer of Black youth in America is gun violence, and Black men live, on average, four years less than their white counterparts due to gun violence. This preventable epidemic is wreaking havoc on Black communities across this country, and furthering socio-economic disparities that already exist in our society. To mark this day, Brady calls for elected officials to continue efforts begun by the Biden Administration to invest in comprehensive violence prevention solutions that address the root causes of violence, including entrenched racism, extremism and white supremacy.
Brady Senior Counsel and Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:
“While Congress has marked Juneteenth as a federal holiday, Congress, particularly the Senate, should use their authority to pass legislation investing in programs and policies that address the number one cause of death for black youth and tackle a public health crisis disproportionately affecting Black Americans: gun violence. Through gun homicide’s disproportionate impact on Black Americans we see slavery’s legacy and white supremacy’s persisting impact today. In the last year, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, our nation has grappled with the country’s failure to acknowledge deadly racism and crippling discrimination that persist across the country. Gun homicide’s disproportionate toll on Black Americans is not a forgone conclusion. It does not arise from some inherent pathology, but instead from the ongoing systemic racism that devalues black people’s lives. In America, Black people are ten times more likely to die from gun homicide than white people. Black youth are fourteen times more likely than their white counterparts to die from gun homicide. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black Youth. Rather than seeing this for the emergency that it is, our laws and institutions, shaped overtly and covertly by white supremacy, protect the status quo. It is not a flaw or bug in the system. It is the system.
While we celebrate Juneteenth today, we cannot forget that the slavery’s legacy is killing Black Americans right here and right now. We cannot ignore the role that race plays in our nation’s gun violence epidemic. To honor the history of Juneteenth and the millions of Black Americans who have died because of our nation’s racist history and present, we must commit ourselves to addressing gun violence and listening to the Black leaders and communities most affected by this epidemic. Brady calls on our nation’s leaders to do just that and pledges to re-commit our efforts and actions to help bring an end to this crisis by uplifting Black people’s voices and communities.”
About the Disproportionate Toll of Gun Violence on Black Americans:
Black people are ten times more likely to die from gun homicide than white people
Black youth are fourteen times more likely than their white counterparts to die from gun homicide
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black Youth
Black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans
Black Americans are 13 percent of the U.S. population, we are 31 percent of all police-involved fatalities
Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of Galveston, Texas by Union General Gordon Granger, in which General Granger announced and enforced General Order No. 3, which established the legitimacy of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and freed all enslaved people in the city. This event has been celebrated by Black Americans since June 19, 1866, a year following General Granger’s actions, and has been celebrated by an ever-increasing number of Americans and American states in the 155 years since. Though the date did not mark the official, legal end to slavery in all American states or territories, Juneteenth has come to mark a celebration to the end of slavery in the United States. Following the increase in awareness and protests for racial justice in 2020, Juneteenth has taken on a new, national prominence and significance for the entire country in recognition of the history of slavery and its continuing legacy in our nation today.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.