FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2022
Joi Ridley, Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence
Adam Peck, West End Strategy Team
EFSGV Observes the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Upholding his vision for America requires bold action by lawmakers and neighbors to protect communities of color
WASHINGTON — For his entire life, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worked to dismantle oppressive power structures through nonviolent demonstration and to confront injustice peacefully, within the guardrails of our democracy. As we honor Dr. King’s legacy, we are reminded that the work must continue because gun violence remains unabated in communities of color and is steeped in structural racism. We still must address socio-economic opportunity, affordable housing and quality education.
“Dr. King spent his life fighting for Black Americans, and the gun violence prevention movement cannot embrace his legacy without doing so, as well. We must work to ensure those closest to the pain are closest to power,” said Lauren Footman, Director of Outreach and Equity at the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. Communities of color remain disproportionately impacted by gun violence — in 2020, young Black men ages 15-34 were 21 times more likely to be killed by a gun than their white counterparts, and there was a 49% increase in Black females who died by gun homicide compared to 2019.
“We are forever indebted for the social justice contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. “I challenge us to use this year’s commemoration as not only a celebration of Dr. King’s life, but also to re-center the lessons of nonviolence he espoused. The rise of political violence and even a national insurrection creates an imperative for us to insist that violence in pursuit of policy or political gain should never be normalized or accepted.”
Fulfilling Dr. King’s dream for a better America requires bold and resolute action on a number of fronts including passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, funding community violence intervention initiatives, and combatting armed insurrectionism.
In addition, this year marks the 30th annual Virginia Advocacy Day to Prevent Gun Violence. Advocacy Day is an effort of EFSGV and its Virginia partners to meet annually on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to push for responsible gun laws and advocate for programmatic funding in communities most impacted by gun violence.
About the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV) develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms. EFSGV uses a public health and equity lens to identify and implement evidence-based policy solutions and programs to reduce gun violence in all its forms and to make gun violence rare and abnormal. EFSGV is the gun violence prevention movement’s premier research intermediary and founder of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, a group of academics and practitioners who collaborate to develop innovative recommendations for policymakers.