New York mayor names “gun violence czar”
New York, Jun 2 (EFE).- New York City Mayor Eric Adams, in response to the mass shootings that have occurred around the United States over the five months he has been in office, on Thursday named a “gun violence czar” to head an ad hoc group tasked with preventing and/or finding a solution to this type of crime.
The person Adams tapped to head the group to prevent gun violence is Andre T. Mitchell, the founder of Brooklyn-based Man Up!, a community anti-violence organization. He will lead the new group on a volunteer basis.
On its Web page, Man Up! says it dedicates its efforts and resources to sending community workers into neighborhoods where there is conflict to mediate, talk with and listen to local residents and to prevent violence before it occurs, with an emphasis on preventive rather than punishment measures.
“Everyone that impacts or touches the lives of the young people will be part of the solution of dealing with gun violence because we can’t continue to believe that because you made an arrest, you solved the problem,” Adams said at a rally from the steps outside City Hall.
“We want to make sure we give the resources to the people that need it that’s on the ground. We’re going to do more,” the mayor added, noting that gun violence is a national crisis and that he will work with other mayors regardless of their political affiliation to try and avert it.
The mayor made his announcement as the country is dealing with the latest mass shootings, one at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school in which 19 children and two teachers were killed by a teenage gunman who was killed when law enforcement confronted him, and another at a clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where five people, including the gunman, died.
New York state also recently experienced a massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo, when a lone white gunman killed 10 people and wounded three, most of them black, while in New York City itself there are frequent armed shootouts among local gangs, along with random shootings, in which passersby are often hit by the gunfire.
Saying that he was honored to be chosen to head the new group, Mitchell added that “The city government has a plethora of resources. We’re going to use every single resource we have.”
He said that people should not expect solutions to such a big problem to be found “overnight” but going on to say that “We’ve been using the same tactics over and over again, and we’ve been getting the same results. No one should have a problem with us trying something different. Give us a chance to prove our self-worth. We are the people who are closest to the problem.
Among Mitchell’s duties will be to deal with the communities most affected by violence, identify gaps or shortfalls in public services, expand programs with a proven history of success and foster greater inter-institutional and government/community participation, City Hall said.
He will also work closely with the Crisis Management System, which sends people to mediate and resolve disputes before they turn violent, work that the City Hall says has had positive results in reducing local gun violence over the past decade.