President Biden’s new Office of Gun Violence Prevention claims to provide resources to grieving families affected by gun violence, partner with anti-violence organizations, and implement gun reform measures. It promises to allocate billions to community violence intervention (CVI) programs, mental health programming, and school safety resources.
Centering Black gun violence survivors in decision-making is critical. But what about Vice President Harris overseeing the office? We must improve school mental health resources. But will heightened policing and incarceration be implemented as the solution to school violence?
We can agree that we want Black communities to be safe, but our definitions of safety aren’t all the same. And there’s other elements to interrogate, too.
For example, does this solution fund police? Does it add resources to violence-impacted communities? Will it lead to more or less incarceration? Will it reduce, increase, or maintain disproportionate anti-Black policing? How much agency do we have in this solution?
There is often a gap between what the U.S. government claims they will do to help us, and what we need. And if we stay informed and empowered as this office develops, we can gauge how large that gap is, and what we want to do about it.