By State Senator Jesse Hamilton, 20th District
I am a founding member of the United Against Violence Task Force because senseless violence has struck our communities too often, leaving victims in hospitals, and in the most tragic cases, leaving families mourning loved ones. Gun violence makes up one part, a highly visible part, of violence that plagues our communities.
Though they represent no less an urgent challenge, other violent acts may be less visible. Hate crimes target our family, friends, and neighbors due to their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The National Crime Victimization Survey finds that in recent years as many as half of hate crimes are never reported.
Intimate partner violence represents another domain where, all too often, violence terrorizes victims while going unseen in the wider community. The CDC reports that 27% of women and 12% of men in the US have suffered from intimate partner violence. A victim of a hate crime or intimate partner violence may feel isolated, alone, bereft of help.
Whatever form violence takes, it results in fresh scars of anguish and pain for our community, opening wounds that may never fully heal. Our communities are left to pick up the pieces in clinics and hospitals, and all too often, in morgues and at funerals.
We must join together as a community to unite in support of the victims, speak out against violence, and act to prevent violence and its precursors intimidation and harassment. With these efforts we can ensure that survivors know that they are not alone, that we stand ready to help, connecting those recovering from violence with resources to aid in healing. We must bolster the services on offer to those recovering in the wake of violence.
In the Senate I have introduced “Missing Piece of Healing” legislation to help authorities connect victims to community-based services. And in confronting violence, we must take steps well before violence has the opportunity to emerge.
By promoting healthy relationships and relationship education, mentoring young people, partnering with organizations like Brooklyn Workforce 1 to open the doors of opportunity, listening to voices violence attempts to silence, taking action through these steps and many more, we can lift the weight of violence on our communities.
I am proud to join in launching a United Against Violence Task Force in confronting this challenge, in putting the pushback against violence at the center of the greater struggle for social justice. Acting in concert with a capable, committed coalition, we will put in the work to make our communities safer.
This task force represents an ambitious framework for sustained action. We will listen to on-the-ground community expertise, develop further legislation where necessary, and lift up those initiatives that are succeeding. We will make violence loom less large in the lives of New Yorkers, ensuring that every member of our community lives without the burden of fear violence imposes.
Ultimately, the love that we have as a community for family and friends, neighbors and neighborhoods, that love will win out.
The opinions, content and/or information in this article are those of the author and are independent of BK Reader.