Councilwoman Zeneta Everhart Unites with State and Federal Leaders to Combat Gun Violence

4 min read

In a pivotal gathering against the escalating issue of gun violence, Councilwoman Zeneta Everhart, representing Masten District and a mother profoundly impacted by the Tops mass shooting tragedy, has united with state and federal leaders to address the community’s fight against this pressing concern.

The collaborative effort, spearheaded by Everhart, unfolded as part of the New Yorkers Against Gun Violence public safety partnerships. This initiative brought together a diverse assembly of experts, activists, and concerned citizens, all converging to shed light on the profound impact of gun violence. Their aim was to stimulate critical conversations, raise awareness, and inspire meaningful action throughout the state of New York.

During the discussions, a thought-provoking question emerged: “If you are taking a gun out of my hand, what are you putting in it?” This poignant inquiry underscored the need to consider what resources and support systems are being provided to those affected by gun violence. Panel members delved into an exploration of whether the community is channeling hope, job opportunities, higher education, mental health services, or youth sustainability into the hands of those impacted.

Everhart, a vocal advocate for change, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in finding comprehensive solutions. “What are we doing about it? Who’s doing what? In what neighborhoods? What’s working? What’s not working? I want to hear about what’s not working and how we can get some solutions. The only way we do that is by collaboration, and we bring organizations together from across the state, across the country to make sure that we’re actually tackling the problem head-on,” she declared

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Rebecca Fischer, the Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, stressed the significance of involving local leaders and agencies in the fight against gun violence. Recognizing their proximity to the issue, Fischer emphasized the crucial role these local entities play in bringing about positive change.

Among the organizations contributing to the discussion were the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, Buffalo Peacemakers, and Buffalo SNUG. Each entity shared insights into the ongoing efforts to assist Buffalo, especially in the aftermath of the Tops shooting on 5/14, and underscored the continued work that lies ahead.

Hospital Responder for Brave/SNUG at ECMC, Willie Griffin, acknowledged the impact of increased awareness, stating, “More people are aware of what we are doing and why are we doing it, and it helps. It helps a lot.”

Jerrell Mason, Senior Director of Buffalo Futures, highlighted the need for improved communication and collaboration. “It’s not that we don’t have these things; it’s that we don’t have enough communication that we should know that this is here. There is a whole lot of opportunity if we connect and collaborate in this way,” Mason affirmed.

An audience member expressed gratitude for the connections made during the gathering, signaling hope for future collaboration. “What we’ve been asking for is exactly what you gave us tonight because we’ve been trying to get these connections, and over the course of the last two years, I’ve met many of you in the room and connected on different things. Now we can build on that,” they concluded.

In this unified effort against gun violence, Councilwoman Zeneta Everhart and fellow advocates are striving to not only address the immediate challenges but also build a sustainable foundation for the future. The collaborative approach, involving local, state, and federal entities, reflects a commitment to fostering positive change and ensuring the well-being of communities impacted by gun violence.

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