Beating the Sorrow

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On March 7, 2023, the administration of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh made public its Safer Streets Program, a $1 million proposal to reduce the city’s gun violence. The proposal is seen as a response to Syracuse’s persistently high levels of violent crime. The City of Syracuse has persistently seen high levels of violent crime. According to published reports, the city’s 2021 murder rate of 19.85 per 100,000 residents is three times that of the United States (6.52). And, despite different interventions from government agencies, civil society, and its non-profit network, the city’s average number of homicides per year rose by 31% over the last decade. During that period, the Central New York Crime Analysis Center found gang-related homicides represented 34% of those homicides. Additionally, the center found that over the past two years more than half of Syracuse’s homicides involved gang-related disputes.

While the federally funded Safer Streets Program calls for a focus on mental health, education and career placement, its most controversial element includes paying known gang members a weekly stipend not to break the law and work toward turning around their lives. On Tuesday, June 20, 2023 at the Southwest Community Center, 401 South Ave., 100 Black Men of Syracuse will host a town hall on gun violence that will give attendees an opportunity to give their views on the program and other efforts to reduce gun violence with city officials present.

Offering their perspectives and answering questions during the two-hour moderated discussion will be:

  • Timothy Jennings Bey, CEO of Street Addiction Institute Inc.
  • Lateef Johnson-Kinsey, director of the Syracuse Mayor’s office to reduce gun violence
  • Bennie McDonald, owner, BMD Armed Security, Inc.
  • Jawwaad Rasheed, Chief Accountability Officer for the Syracuse Police Department

Other expert witnesses will also be available to answer questions during the Q&A portion of the program.

Pre-register for this event.