“Gun violence plays such a large role in my life because I always fear when my next friend is going to die or if I will ever make it home in one piece,” says 19-year-old Amy Chen of Philadelphia. Amy’s experience is not uncommon, and is reflective of the experiences of young people around the country who live surrounded by violence, constantly worrying if they’ll live to see another day. One cannot hide from the reality that gun violence is at an all-time high nationwide. As Americans, we are constantly bombarded with the staggering homicide rates that occur in metropolitan cities across the country.
In September of 2009, high school star swimmer Ondelee Perteet was attending a party with his friends in Chicago. A rather typical social activity for Ondelee and his friends, all seemed fine at the party until a disagreement erupted between Perteet and a 15-year-old boy named Robert Sansberry. After the encounter, Sansberry was asked to leave. He later returned — this time, with a gun. Sansberry opened fire on the crowd. A bullet struck Ondelee’s chin. The bullet severed his spinal cord, rendering him quadriplegic. He would never swim again. He would never walk again. In an instant, Ondelee’s life was changed forever. He was only 14.
Daily, we have borne witness to the divisive language and tactics that have been employed during the 2016 Election.
I have often had to remind myself: God is still in control and all things happen according to His plan.
The 2016 election has reminded me how much further we actually have to go as a nation in order to build a more just and equitable society. For instance, we must face the fact that our urban cties are facing the harsh realities of deep poverty, subpar education, lack of socioeconomic opportunity and high rates of violence.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has always been on the front lines of Civil Rights since its inception, and this time is no different.
The Queering Racial Justice Institute is the perfect space to learn and engage around the pressing issues of our time.
Set to take place on Saturday, September 10, 2016, at the Philadelphia African-American Museum, the daylong training will focus on analyzing the intersection of identities and the ways these intersections should inform our work.
Register here to take part in the Queering Racial Justice Institute.
This institute will allow also for people from all walks of life to create safe space to move our country forward. The NAACP Pennsylvania (PA) Youth and College Division will be present to utilize our platform, and resources to empower attendees, and also to learn ways we can be even more strategic and inclusive with our partners in this work.
During the Queering Racial Justice Institute, the NAACP PA Youth and College Division will host two workshops that we hope will spark thought-provoking conversations around the epidemic of urban gun violence, and the impacts of social media on contemporary organizing.
All across the America, we cannot escape the rising numbers of deaths in local communities nationwide due to gun violence.