Source: Editorial Board
2023 has been a bleak year. Many of us are searching for an understanding of why gun violence and hate crimes are continuously wreaking havoc in the United States and in our great state of North Carolina.
In the midst of our pain and heartache, our North Carolina Legislature led by Republican politicians has made it easier for people to get guns. In March, Republican legislators voted to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto on a pistol-permitting bill. Since this bill has passed, permits are no longer required to buy handguns and it is now legal to carry a gun while attending religious services at places that also serve as schools.
This is scary…what else can go wrong?
Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Where is the hope we are desperately looking for?
We are that hope.
Over the past month, communities in Durham, Salisbury, and Winston-Salem have created forums, panels, and marches to address the rise of gun-related deaths, hate crimes, and other crimes happening in their hometowns.
Since the last week of March, there have been two community forums in Durham.
One forum was an interfaith meeting where community members discussed the increase in antisemitic incidents in the state and talked about how those of all faiths should band together to call out this violence.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 39 reported incidents in North Carolina against Jewish community members in 2022. This is a 30% increase from the year before.
At the meeting, Rabbi Daniel Greyber urged interfaith leaders to call out this hate. Because “it’s much more important and much more powerful when antisemitism is called out by allies, by people who are not directly affected by antisemitism but who see the damage that it does.”
Then about a week later, the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and the Durham NAACP hosted a forum to talk about the ongoing problems surrounding gun violence in Durham.
During this meeting, attendees asked questions about how they and their organizations can provide resources to help their community move forward. And, Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead informed attendees on what his office is doing to slow down gun violence.
Now onto the Triad.
At the beginning of April, a Winston-Salem group organized a panel to bring awareness about the different types of gun violence, like gun suicides, and had an open discussion where community members were able to talk about what was happening in their community.
Tremona Purvis, who was one of the panelists, advocated for there to be more conversations surrounding suicides and mental health. He stated, “If a teen or young adult is mentioning and not wanting to be here, that is something that we cannot laugh off,” Purvis said. “We need to take it seriously, and we need to act on it.”
Let’s travel to Salisbury.
Last week, Livingstone College students, Salisbury police, and many family resource groups marched to spread awareness surrounding youth violence in the city. Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander was in attendance and read a proclamation on behalf of the city council in honor of youth violence prevention week, April 24-28.
These stories uplifted here are not only to inform you about what’s going on in North Carolina but also serve as a call to action. What will YOU do to create hope in our great state? Will you join a march or a rally or a panel discussion? Or maybe you are more comfortable with making phone calls to legislators’ offices? Or what about hosting a conversation where you talk about creating avenues of hope with your friends and family?
Whatever you decide to do, ground it in hope and love for your family, friends, and your greater community.
Let’s stop living in fear and start believing in hope for a better tomorrow.