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Gun Violence and Discrimination: Americas’ Recurring Issue

Guns and America seem to be synonyms. Nearly every American would know at least 1 gun violence victim in their lifetime. Gun violences rates are rising across the United States, in 2021 gun death raises the highest level in 40 years with 48,830 death that year alone. The strength of gun laws varies from state to state in the United States, and gun death rates also vary widely from state to state. Generally speaking, the stronger gun laws the states have, the lower gun death rates will be.

Maryland ranks eighth in the nation for the strength of gun laws in Everytown, yet still has an unacceptably close gun death rate to the national average. Gun violence in Maryland has disproportionately affected Baltimore’s communities of color. In Maryland, black males aged 15-34 have a firearm homicide rate 38 times higher than white (non-Latino) males of the same age group. In addition to Maryland, there are many shooting incidents of people of color in the United States. Juneteenth is a holiday to celebrate the liberation of black people, but during the celebration, gun violence issues occurred frequently across the United States. Even on the day of the event, there was a mass shooting against black people in Illinois. This reflects that the long-standing social problems such as social inequality and racial conflict in the United States have exacerbated gun violence.

The documentary Gun Violence and Discrimination: Americas’ Recurring Issue focuses on gun violence, from the perspective of gun violence victims and community organization personnel working on gun violence, it shows the current status of gun violence in the United States and the public’s vision for gun violence control. At the same time, the three black respondents as gun violence witnesses of colored people also unanimously expressed sympathy for those people of color who were victims of senseless shootings, and are taking actions in their respective fields to help people of color as far as possible from harm.

In the documentary, it interviews Donyelle Brown, a family member of a gun violence victim whose son, Louis Cody Dorsey Young, was killed in the Baltimore shooting violence. She has since founded the Cody Young Empowerment Youth Charities. From her conversations with black children at Cody’s Cave, she learned their daily fear of whether they could get home from school safely. Gun violence threatens the most basic human rights and anyone can be affected by it, in some ways gun violence disproportionately affects people of color, women and other marginalized groups. In order to prevent the intensification of gun violence and reduce the occurrence of tragedies like Cody, people in every state in the United States need stricter gun control laws to protect the American people from gun violence.

Anthony Parker is an American hip-hop artist, music label owner and founder of the non-profit organization Rise with a Purpose, Inc. His organization provides tangible assistance to low-income and underserved communities and promotes long-term solutions to homelessness, hunger, and poverty locally and globally through social reform, education, and advocacy. In the documentary, he shares his experience working in a gun-riddled community in Baltimore, tells his thoughts on Baltimore’s lost kid. He believes that black children with nothing to do in the streets need a guide who can prevent them from being abused or become a violator of the rights of others. This inspires the need for education and community building, and demonstrates the importance of community collaboration.

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