By Marc Peoples
This weekend, in observance of Gun Violence Awareness Month, a significant initiative is set to take place in Harlem.
On Saturday, individuals will have the opportunity to participate in a gun buyback event held at the Memorial Baptist Church, located at 141 W. 115th Street in Harlem. The primary aim of this event is to raise awareness about the pressing issue of gun violence and provide a safe avenue for individuals to surrender firearms, no questions asked.
In a news release, District Attorney Alvin Bragg emphasized the urgent need to address the devastating toll that firearms continue to exact on our communities. “As we enter Gun Violence Awareness Month,” Bragg stated, “we are reminded of far too many lives lost and families left grieving due to gun violence. It is our responsibility to utilize every available means to remove guns from our streets.”
Participants in the gun buyback event will have the opportunity to exchange their firearms for monetary compensation. Handguns and assault rifles will be rewarded with a $200 bank card and an iPad. Additionally, individuals who surrender a rifle, shotgun, or airgun will receive a $25 bank card. It is important to note that the distribution of iPads will be limited to one per person, based on availability and on a first-come-first-served basis.
This significant community event is made possible through the collaborative efforts of several prominent elected officials representing Harlem. Among the key figures partnering in this endeavor are U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, State Senator Cordell Cleare, and Assembly Members Edward Gibbs, Inez Dickens, Daniel O’Donnell, Al Taylor, and Diana Ayala. Additionally, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Council Members Shaun Abreu and Kristin Richardson Jordan, and other community leaders are actively engaged in this vital initiative.
The gun buyback event will commence at 10 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m., providing ample opportunity for community members to participate. Moreover, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has organized two additional events to shed light on the impact of gun violence. On June 10, a basketball showcase will be hosted at 299 South St., aimed at raising awareness and fostering dialogue around this critical issue. Furthermore, an Art of Healing Festival will be held on June 17, located on East 120th Street in Harlem, to honor the victims of gun violence and promote healing within the community.
Recent data indicates that shootings in Manhattan have experienced an 18 percent decrease compared to the same period last year, providing a glimmer of hope. Nevertheless, the gun buyback event, along with the associated awareness campaigns, serve as a crucial reminder that continued efforts are necessary to address gun violence comprehensively.
As the community rallies together, united against the devastating impact of firearms, this initiative in Harlem seeks to create a safer environment for all residents, fostering dialogue, healing, and progress in the ongoing battle against gun violence.
Photo credit: Source.
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