This is a transcript of a speech that Crave V leader, Seven Charlestin, gave at a Wake-Up Wednesday rally last month at the Pulse Memorial in Orlando. The entire speech can be found on our YouTube channel.
I just want to advocate for my community …
I thought it’d be good to come out and represent and speak for my neighborhood and, especially, my chapter of March for Our Lives. A lot of black communities don’t have the luxuries to be able to advocate for themselves the way they want to, because a lot of the social aspects of gun violence are crushing a lot of our neighborhoods. People who want to advocate for issues like gun violence have to risk their health and well-being, especially since a lot of the work that we’re doing in our communities is not paid.
And we don’t have the platform to do the type of work they want. I, like a lot of the other organizers I know in Pine Hills, whether we’re sick, injured, hurt, et cetera., are doing this civil work to try to support our community and prevent gun violence, daily.
Among other things, I want to talk about just some social aspects of gun violence and kind of the roots of them and how they transpire in my community, especially. Gun violence is an epidemic everywhere in America, but, in black communities, it’s 18 times more likely for a black American to be a victim of gun violence than a white American and any other community. And, most of those root causes are poverty, lack of access to resources, and the availability of guns.
One thing that I’ve been focused on a lot for the last two years is male patriarchy and just the way that our men are being raised and socialized, especially in our culture. Males for the most part are 50% of the population in America, and we’re over 80% of the suicides by gun violence.
And men are over 80% of the gun homicide victims. And, as far as it comes to mass shootings, just about 95% of mass shootings are taking place by men. And it’s largely because of the way that we’re socialized. Women have the same type of mental health issues, the same type of rates of poverty, et cetera. But, the way that men are raised to be, to fight for their identity above everything else is one of the key causes, I believe, of gun violence, especially in my community, where black males are especially a large faction of gun violence victims and offenders.
That’s something that my chapter of March for Our Lives focuses on in my community, mainly just finding ways to help young men, and kids in general deal with conflict resolution and understand how they can affect their community from a public safety standpoint.
I just wanted to come out to advocate for my community because, without me or one of the other few people from Pine Hills who is always advocating for gun violence prevention, I don’t think we will be represented. I want, as the fight against gun violence continues, I want people to remember that the black communities that are really at the brunt of some of this gun violence and the fact that, after the gun, I mean, if we ever get an assault weapon ban, we still need help with all the other root causes of gun violence, where it comes to just the help that boys and men need and, poverty and all those other aspects.
So thank you, guys.
Crave V Leader
Photo by Agulia Creative