All events are held in the Daughty House adjacent to Westminster Presbyterian Church parking lot, 1503 W. 13th Street, Wilmington, DE 19806. For more information, call 302-656-2721. For detailed descriptions of these programs, visit www.depaceminterris.org
Violence and Health:
Fighting Back with Nonviolence
Tuesday, February 3, 7 pm
Treating Violence Like a Contagious Disease TED Talk – Dr. Gary Slutkin
TED Talk – Scilla Elworthy
The Ripple Effect
A Film by Christiana Care Health System Chaz Molins, Violence Intervention and Prevention Coordinator
Christiana Care Health System
Impacts of Gun Violence on Communities
Tuesday, February 10, 7 pm
Shell Shocked (film)
Mass Incarceration and the New Jim Crow
Tuesday, February 17, 7 pm
Broken On All Sides (film)
A New World View
Tuesday, February 24, 7 pm
One Day of Peace Two TED Talks – Jeremy Gilley & Jody Williams
DeCAGV Supports the Movement for a Culture of Peace
Since November, the Movement for a Culture of Peace has held a public forum the first Saturday morning of every month. Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence invites you to what will be a provocative panel discussion of the public health issues raised by gun violence. Acting director George Higgins will moderate the discussion.
Saturday, Feb. 7, 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Trinity Episcopal Church 1108 North Adams. St (corner Pennsylvania Ave.) Wilmington DE 19801
Why think of gun violence as a public health problem?
Injury prevention research can have real and lasting effects. Over the last 20 years, the number of Americans dying in motor vehicle crashes has decreased by 31%. Deaths from fires and drowning have been reduced even more, by 38% and 52%, respectively. This progress was achieved without banning automobiles, swimming pools, or matches. Instead, it came from translating research findings into effective interventions.
Given the chance, could researchers achieve similar progress with firearm violence? It will not be possible to find out unless Congress rescinds its moratorium on firearm injury prevention research. Since Congress took this action in 1997, at least 427 000 people have died of gunshot wounds in the United States, including more than 165 000 who were victims of homicide. To put these numbers in context, during the same time period, 4586 Americans lost their lives in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The United States has long relied on public health science to improve the safety, health, and lives of its citizens. Perhaps the same straightforward, problem-solving approach that worked well in other circumstances can help the nation meet the challenge of firearm violence. Otherwise, the heartache that the nation and perhaps the world is feeling over the senseless gun violence in Newtown will likely be repeated, again and again.
Yet, as the full article points out, the gun lobby actively works to prevent the gathering of data by the CDC and other entities that would allow the very same injury prevention research to focus on gun violence.
This is just one of the things that will be discussed at the Movement for a Culture of Peace forum on Feb. 7. Our panelists will be:
A new feature of the Saturday morning forum will be more time devoted to networking opportunities. Come as an individual or representing your organization. This is the Movement you need to connect the dots between us, to work together toward a culture of peace.
The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence is pleased to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by participating in this event. George Higgins, acting director of DeCAGV will be on the panel.
YWCA Delaware recognizes MLK, Jr. Day each year by presenting an Action Forum to raise awareness and inspire action to affect social change around issues of racial disparity and race relations. Join us for this year’s Action Forum to address institutional racism based on the fact that race continues to be a significant factor in every dimension of life such as employment, education, economics, housing, health care, crime, political candidates and public policy. The focus of the forum is to engage the community, willing executives and public policymakers to become proactive in finding common ground to close the racial divide in Delaware communities.
This forum will create opportunities for the community, business, government and political leaders together to have open and honest dialogue regarding racial justice issues that broadly impact the success of people of color and the entire Delaware community. The panelist will be talking about the need to develop workable solutions in the workplace and our communities, placing emphasis on the fact that diversity has real purpose and in our collective strength lies unity. We must move beyond racial dialogue and develop more integrative workplaces by creating risk-free environments that allow people to freely contribute their best ideas by genuinely being included. Influential people must move out of their comfort zone and serve as examples for others to do the same by establishing circles of inclusion.
Special Guest Panelists
Michele Greene Chair of the US Constitution, 4th Amendment Search and Seizure Committee of the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow Michele was educated in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania public school system and attended the University of Pennsylvania and Dickinson Law School. She worked for both the Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s office in Philadelphia; was a member of the Human Relations Council in the early 1970’s; has a broad based background in business, finance, and the law; has lived in Delaware on and off for approximately 40 years; has three grown children and four grandchildren; and is currently a student in the Master of Liberal Arts program at the University of Delaware – a lifelong student.
George Higgins Acting Director of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence During his career, George served as emissary from the DuPont Company to US Navy Commander in Chief Pacific. Following retirement, George has been a key player in alliance with the offices of the Governor and the Attorney General, working in concert with the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence to energize public action resulting in the enactment of Delaware’s first Background Check and Lost or Stolen Gun laws.
Dr. Yasser Payne Associate Professor of the Department of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware Dr. Yasser Payne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware. Dr. Payne completed his doctoral work at the Graduate Center-City University of New York where he was trained as a social-personality psychologist. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse where he worked on a re-entry and intervention based research project in New York City’s largest jail, Rikers Island—a project designed to reduce: (1) recidivism, (2) drug use, and (3) other risky behavior leading to HIV/AIDS.
Roy Sudler, Jr. Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church’s Chairman of the Social Action Commission Roy earned a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Family Management from Morris Brown College in 1999. From Wilmington University, he received his first Masters Degree in Human Resources in 2002 and his second Masters in Healthcare Administration in 2006. Roy is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.From 2001 to 2003, he served as the NAACP Labor Relations Chairman for the Delaware Central Branch. In 2004, Roy was appointed by the Mayor to the Dover Human Relations Commission where he served as Community Programs Chairperson from 2004 to 2009; in 2010 he was elected Chairman.In 2014, Roy accepted an appointment from Governor Jack Markel to the State of Delaware’s Human Relations Commission; in addition to currently serving in Dover as Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church’s Chairman of the Social Action Commission. In May 2014, the City of Dover’s Council Committee asked him to come back and serve on the Legislative Finance and Administration Committee.Roy occupies his time managing Mishoe Cove, LLC and his construction business, Sudler & Mishoe General Contracting Builders, LLC. .
It’s time to hear the valuable voices of our youth and discuss effective engagement between young black males and law enforcement officers.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, Movement for a Culture of Peace (MCP) will co-sponsor a vital conversation featuring young black men, educational and faith leaders, and Captain Faheem Akil of the Wilmington Police Department.
DeCAGV supports the Movement for a Culture of Peace.
This forum—at The Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew at 7th and Shipley—has been organized by One Village Alliance. It follows a series of similar public conversations that were held at Prestige Academy, the Resurrections Center, and the Wilmington Public Library in December.
The program will start at 9:00 with time for networking and conversation at SsAM.
Vigil on Dec. 14 to Connect the Dots Between Newtown and Wilmington
A public vigil will be held from noon until 2:00 on Sunday, Dec. 14, at the corner of Whitby Road and Concord Pike, connecting the dots between Newtown, Conn., and Wilmington. In the two years since 28 lives were lost in Newtown, 41 residents of Wilmington have become homicide victims—all but a few killed by guns.
The high-visibility corner is the site of the Memorial to the Lost, a symbolic T-shirt memorial to the victims of gun violence and other forms of homicide in Wilmington. The memorial was installed on Dec. 6 by members of First Unitarian Church and their partners from the Movement for a Culture of Peace, including DeCAGV.
Members of the church will dedicate the memorial during Sunday’s worship service at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend the service.
The two-hour vigil will begin at noon along Concord Pike. Its purpose to bring greater attention to the ongoing carnage in Wilmington, which this year has tied an all-time record for homicides (27) set in 2010. All are welcome to participate—even if you can’t stay for the full duration of the vigil. Bring signs or banners if you have them.
The Newtown Action Alliance is organizing events in all 50 states to commemorate the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre—and this is Delaware’s chance to be part of that national movement.
The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence supports this action and urges you to attend. The event is listed on DeCAGV’s Facebook page. Give us a like!
Discussions of justice system continue on Dec. 1 at Mother African Union Church
The Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow will have Wilmington Chief of Police Bobby Cummings as its guest on Monday, Dec. 1, at 6:00 pm at Mother African Union Church, 812 N. Franklin St. in Wilmington. Chief Cummings will speak about policing in the city and take questions from the audience.
“We have had many productive discussions with state officials and law enforcement officers from New Castle County and look forward to hearing from Chief Cummings,” says Joan Priest, a member of First Unitarian and a leader of the coalition.
Chuck Singleton, co-leader of the coalition, recently joined the board of DeCAGV.
What is “The New Jim Crow?” And what is this Coalition?
According to Rev. Paula Maiorano, the New Jim Crow is the latest structural form of racism in the U.S. The term was coined by civil rights attorney and author Michelle Alexander in her 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
Slavery and Jim Crow were earlier versions. Mass incarceration disproportionately directed to African American males with the War on Drugs used as the delivery vehicle. The outcome has decimated families and urban neighborhoods.
The Coalition was formed to address this structural racism and bring about change. It began several years ago with an interracial study group that read and discussed Alexander’s book. The study group’s meetings alternated between Mother African Union Church and First Unitarian. It has grown into a broad coalition that seeks reforms across the criminal justice system.
The Dec. 1 meeting is free and open to all. Meetings on the first Monday of every month continue to alternate between the two churches. Last month’s meeting drew more than 40 participants.
In response to petition, Leno cancels appearance at gun industry trade show.
The Newtown Action Alliance, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Campaign to Unload have applauded comedian Jay Leno’s decision to cancel his appearance at the 2015 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show), an annual event sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the gun industry. Leno’s cancellation comes just hours after the three gun violence prevention groups had launched a petition calling on him to take this action.
Leno personally called Po Murray, the chairman of Newtown Action Alliance, to inform her of the cancellation. He said he was unaware that the NSSF was a pro-gun lobbying group based in Newtown, Connecticut—the site of a tragic mass shooting in December 2012 that claimed the lives of six adults and 20 children ages 6-7. As Leno told Mother Jones magazine in separate remarks, “I understand it’s Newtown, and of course I get it. It’s just, sometimes, mistakes get made.”
“I’m not at all surprised that Jay didn’t understand that the NSSF is part of the gun lobby,” said Murray. “Before the Sandy Hook shootings, I had no idea they existed, and they’re right here in my community! I am thrilled that Jay changed his mind once he had full information. It is so appreciated by those of us in Newtown.”
Jennifer Fiore, the executive director of the Campaign to Unload, added, “I’m grateful that Jay has seen the NSSF for what it really is: a corporate lobbying group that puts money over morality, no matter how many families are destroyed by its products.”
“We are sincerely grateful to Mr. Leno for making this decision so quickly after it was brought to his attention,” said Josh Horwitz, the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “It shows that he cares about all the Americans whose lives have been turned upside down by gun violence. And that speaks to the man’s character.”
Vigil of Mourning and Remembrance
Since the Sandy Hook shooting, more than 60,000 Americans have died from gun violence. To commemorate the second anniversary of that tragic event, a vigil of mourning and remembrance will take place at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 11, 2014.
City ranks third in violent crime among those of comparable size.
According to the Wilmington News-Journal’s recently published study of FBI crime data, during 2013, Wilmington, Delaware, ranked third in violence among 450 cities of comparable size. Only two cities of Wilmington’s size—Saginaw and Flint Michigan—reported more violent crime. Here’s what News-Journal reporters Cris Barrish and Esteban Parra reported on Nov. 13:
Wilmington’s status among about 750 cities with populations of more than 50,000 also got worse in 2013. The city ranked eighth in 2012 but last year it rose to fifth – surpassed in violent crime only by Detroit and the two smaller Michigan municipalities, plus Oakland, California, and Memphis, Tennessee.
The statistics were worse in Wilmington than two larger neighbors with a long-standing reputation as high-crime cities – Baltimore, which ranked 12th among cities with at least 50,000 residents, and Philadelphia at 34th.
The bureau’s latest annual report shows that overall violence did decrease in Wilmington, from 1,703 violent crimes per 100,000 to 1,624 per 100,000 residents. The decrease, however, was not enough to give Wilmington a better national ranking.
Gun crime is a major factor in these statistics.
Among cities of comparable size, Wilmington ranked second in robberies, fourth in aggravated assault, and seventh in homicides. Robbery is a “key component of the FBI’s violent crime rate,” the News-Journal reported. And most shootings that do not result in the victim’s death are classified as aggravated assault.
During 2013, 154 people were shot in Delaware’s largest city. Eighteen died. To date in 2014, Wilmington has seen 25 homicides, 21 of which involved guns. The city’s worst year for homicides is 27, set in 2010.
In October, Mayor Dennis Williams—a former city detective—announced the formation of a homicide uniting the Wilmington Police Department. The announcement came after significant public pressure to make arrests in the city’s homicides. Of 25 such crimes this year, there have been just five arrests. Last week, again according to the News-Journal, the homicide unit made its first arrest in a bicycle robbery that resulted in a shooting death of 57-year-old Donald Smith.
In recent months, the public face of the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola epidemic has been Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control.
Writing in Health Affairs, J. Stephen Morrison calls Frieden “invaluable,” reporting that “though he may have erred on occasion, [Frieden’s] statements to the American public were overwhelmingly lucid, consistent, powerful, and closely echoed by the President and other senior officials.”
Although it makes sense that the director of the CDC should be out front in talking about the epidemic, there is powerful voice missing from the public discussion: the Surgeon General of the United States. The fact is that, since July 2013, the United States has not had a Surgeon General.
Why? The nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy for that position has been held up by the gun lobby. That’s right: The NRA and its allies have opposed confirmation of a well-qualified public health expert to the position because they think he might want to frame gun violence as a public health issue.
Writing in The Nation, Zoë Carpenter points out that:
This isn’t the first time the NRA has held up a nominee: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives went without a director for seven years because of opposition from the gun lobby. But never before has the group set itself so strongly against a surgeon general nominee. So why now? The NRA said Murthy’s ‘blatant activism on behalf of gun control’ attracted their attention.
But the gun lobby’s campaign against Murthy isn’t really about his record, or him at all. His positions on guns are hardly radical or even activist and his views are consistent with those of the majority of Americans. Polling indicates that the public is far more supportive of new gun control laws than members of Congress or, certainly, the NRA.
Furthermore, Murthy’s views represent a consensus among medical professionals that gun violence is a major public health issue. Gun violence, including suicide, kills some 30,000 Americans every year, about the same number as car accidents. Cars are highly regulated for health and safety; guns, barely. Accordingly, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among many others, have called for stronger gun safety laws. It would be surprising if, as a doctor, Murthy did not have concerns about gun violence and the strength of current regulations.
With public health professionals engaging more forcefully on the gun issue, the NRA has a pressing interest in muting their calls for stronger policy. Really, the campaign against Murthy is the continuation of a longstanding effort to make discussion of gun violence taboo. For years the NRA has worked to bury information about gun violence and its public health implications.
Delaware Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons have already expressed support for Dr. Murthy’s nomination. But in the wake of the mid-term elections, there’s a strong possibility that the NRA will push for its members to make anti-Murthy calls to the Senate. Members of DeCAGV are urged to do two things:
Call or send email to Senators Carper and Coons to thank them for their support of Vivek Murthy and for a sensible public-health approach to gun violence. Their contact information is here.
In addition to the victory for universal background checks in the Washington State initiative, there were other bright spots for gun violence prevention in the recent mid-term elections. According to Tim Daly at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, supporters of sensible gun policies won both large and small victories. Here’s part of Daly’s recap:
Gun Safety Groups Took A Giant Leap Towards Political Power Parity with the NRA in 2014.
The NRA will have spent more than $31 million on this year’s federal elections, far exceeding their roughly $8 million 2010 spending – where they out-spent gun safety groups by more than 5-to-1.
In Governors and US Senate Races, Background Checks Helped Supporters.
Incumbent governors who signed the nation’s most sweeping post-Sandy Hook gun laws all won reelection. The strongest laws passed after Sandy Hook, were Colorado, Connecticut, New York’s. In all three states incumbent Democratic governors appear to have won reelection. In Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper appear to have overcome a challenging wave in his state outperforming Senator Udall by 4 points. In Connecticut, Governor Malloy was reelected, in a race where both gun lobby and gun safety groups spent seven figures.
Senators who voted for background checks won about as many races as those who voted No. Despite an unfavorable map and a wave election, Senators who voted yes on Manchin-Toomey performed well. 26 of this year’s Senate races featured incumbent Senators who were in office in April 2013 and voted on the Manchin-Toomey measure: 13 Yes votes and 13 No votes. 10 the 13 Senators who voted Yes were reelected, and that may become 11 if Sen. Landrieu wins a run-off election; meanwhile 11 of the 13 Senators who voted No. Meanwhile, pre-election surveys showed that background checks vote helped Senators who voted Yes.
In 2016, Geography and Demographics will be Much More Favorable for Supporters of Strong Gun Laws.
Young voters. Millenial voters are projected to increase by 4 million per year until 2018. By 2016, millenials are projected to represent one-third of all eligible voters. The gun issue is a key one to help drive turnout of millennial voters: according to a 2013 poll, 70% of respondents under the age of 30 agreed that “the gun culture in our society has gotten out of control” and 92% supported background checks for all gun sales.