No mother should have to bury her own child. The pain of losing a son or daughter is even more acute, however, when their death occurs through something as unnecessary as gun violence. With this bitter realization in mind, two Harlem women came together in 2006 to form Harlem Mothers Stop Another Violent End, or Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E.
History of the Problem
Violent crimes threaten our communities and rob our society of promising young people and decent citizens at alarming numbers each year. According to recent reports:
· Everyday, 85 people die from gun violence, 35 of them murdered. (Bradly Campaign, 2009)
· In 2006 the U.S firearm homicide rate was 6 times that of Canada, 13 times that of Germany, 15 times that of Austria, 26 times that of Australia and Spain and 31 times that of England and Wales. (Brady Campaign 2009)
· While New York State’s crime rate has decreased over the past 10 years, New York has also reported a significant reduction in the actual number of crimes reported. (DCJS 2008 Final Data)
· In 2008 there were 5,320 reported violent crime incidents which involved a firearm, an increase of 2% over 2007 and 29% over 1999. (DCJS 2008 Final Data)
· Homicides occurred at higher rates among males and persons 20-24 years; rates were highest among non-Hispanic black males. (CDC)
· The number of black children and teens killed by gunfire since 1979 is more than 10 times the number of black citizens of all ages lynched in American history. (CDF)
“If you see something, say something! It’s not snitching, it’s saving a life!”
In 2007, 41 people were killed in the three police precincts that cover Harlem. This 2006 statistic is more than double the 19 killed there in 2005. In an attempt to turn this dire situation around, Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. focuses on three main areas: activism, victim services and education. They have compiled a list of stores, bodegas, and nail and hair salons in Harlem which they suspect of trafficking in the illegal sales of guns.
It is the hope and prayer of Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. that their efforts will prevent another parent from having to endure such a terrible loss.