But here we are almost three years later and gun violence in black communities continues to be a massive problem. African Americans are eight times more likely to be murdered than whites—1 in 5,000 versus 1 in 40,000. Between 2000 and 2010, gun-related fatalities for black people were double those of whites. Worse, gun-violence is the leading cause of death for black children and teens.
It’s a heavy burden to raise children who know that the color of their skin makes them walking targets. And gun violence isn’t just the immediate threat of bullets flying—it’s about the lasting effects that cripple the ability of the black community to protect itself and to heal from the damage inflicted.
Often overlooked are the survivors of gun violence who struggle to return to some form of normalcy. In New York City during the first half of 2012, 96% of gunshot victims, whether they survived or not, were black or Latino. Danielle Sered, the executive director of Common Justice, has been researching the differences in the government’s response to violence when the victim or shooter is white and when they are of color. Sered concludes that very little is done to help black survivors. In an interview with New Yorker journalist Sarah Stillman, Sered said that had victims Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, and Michael Brown—whose deaths launched nationwide protests—survived but been left with disabilities, “nothing” would have been done to help them adjust to their lives.