Statement from YWCA Evanston/North Shore on Gun Violence in Chicago and Highland Park
YWCA Evanston/North Shore mourns and stands alongside families and community members impacted by senseless acts of gun violence. It has been less than two weeks since we experienced a July 4th weekend plagued with gun violence across the Chicagoland area, including the mass shooting in Highland Park that killed at least seven and wounded 35, and in the city of Chicago where 71 people were shot, at least eight fatally. As we collectively continue to navigate the compounding grief, trauma, fear, and outrage over America’s intensified epidemic of gun violence, YWCA is committed to continuing to advocate for smart gun laws and violence prevention programs.
The loss of lives to gun violence is unacceptable, devastating, and it can impact any community, at any time. We can no longer accept the burgeoning incidents of gun violence in our country as the status quo, especially with the disproportionate number of Chicago’s Black and Brown communities that face increased risks of death or harm by gun violence every day. Whether driven by hate, political ideology, domestic disputes, gang violence or excessive law enforcement scenarios—as witnessed in the recent the case of Jayland Walker, a Black, unarmed 25-year-old, shot at least 60 times and killed by police in Akron, Ohio—we must make our voices heard and take action now to create life-saving changes at individual, community, and national levels.
Guns are currently the leading cause of death of children in the United States broadly, and in Illinois specifically. Intimate partner violence and gun violence in the US are inextricably linked – with abusers with firearms being five times more likely to kill their victims. As a social justice and service organization dedicated to promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all, we call upon Congress to?immediately take steps to:
- provide safety from gun violence by passing legislation?that keeps guns out of the hands of perpetrators of domestic violence, stalking, and other interpersonal violence
- eliminate access to automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition
- protect students from the danger of school shootings
- strengthen methods for screening and removing firearms from individuals who pose a significant risk of danger to others.
YWCA Evanston/North Shore serves as a community catalyst and resource for programs and services that further our mission to eliminate racism and empower women. We will continue to invite the community to come together for critical, solution-orientated conversations like last month’s “The Harm of Inaction: We Can’t Wait,” hosted by YWCA’s Equity Institute. We encourage anyone seeking support to help them cope with recent events and their impact to explore the following resources.