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Our Issues, Our Voices, Our Votes

From Politics to Policy: What Can Stop Gun Violence in America

In partnership with:
With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Wednesday, March 08, 2023
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Gun violence has become as ubiquitous as it is polarizing in the United States. An almost daily drumbeat of mass shooting events have made some people numb, others fearful that it could happen to them, and produced a generation for whom active shooter drills in schools are routine. However, as horrific as these events are, they represent only a fraction of the annual mortality rate. Suicide represents the largest share of gun-related deaths per year, followed by homicide, accidents, and domestic violence. Despite this, it seems that the only thing we can agree about is that the overall toll is too high. What, if anything, can be done? Join us as we move beyond the political battle over 2nd Amendment rights vs. public safety and take a deep dive into policy: what works, what doesn’t, and what is feasible to do in this highly charged environment with David Hemenway, Ph.D., Professor of Health Policy and Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Greg Jackson, Executive Director of the Community Justice Action Fund and Kevin Drakulich, Associate Director and Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. This series is produced in partnership with Ford Hall Forum, Suffolk University Political Science and Legal Studies Department and The Washington Center.

Greg Jackson, Executive Director of the Community Justice Action Fund, is a community organizer, political strategist and issue advocate. Prior to becoming the organization’s Executive Director, Greg served as the National Advocacy Director for 2 years. In this role he worked with communities, elected officials, community leaders and impacted residents to advocate for proactive and preventive solutions to end gun violence. Greg led the effort to build political power through electoral participation, spearheading the 2020 Elect Justice Campaign that mobilized over a 1,000 volunteers and connected with over 1.6 million voters across the country. As a gun violence survivor, gun violence prevention is personal for Greg. While being questioned by law enforcement in his hospital bed, Greg remembers being treated like a criminal and not like a victim. This experience and his recovery propelled Greg into action, becoming a vocal and leading voice on gun violence prevention for Black and brown communities. Following his recovery, Greg became an avid mentor to local at risk youth and built multiple youth engagement movements like #WeReadDC that empowered hundreds of volunteers to support Washington, DC area youth through monthly reading events. As the youngest member of Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration, Greg served as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services. Greg then went on to lead Community Engagement and Communications for the Washington, D.C.’s Office of Neighborhood Safety & Engagement (ONSE). At ONSE, Greg oversaw community events, outreach activities, policy development, violence reducing programs and direct engagement of residents most at risk to gun violence. Before dedicating his life to gun violence prevention, Greg worked as a community organizer through various roles, including the Co-Chair of DC for Obama, the Obama for America, North Carolina - Field Director, the Southern Regional Director at Organizing for Action and the National Field Director, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where he ran the largest mid-term election voter registration program in U.S. History. Greg, an avid runner that has completed 5 half marathons, enjoys recreational sports and created a citywide organization offering recreational sports activities for thousands of young adults throughout the D.C. area.
**David Hemenway **is Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) and co-director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. In 2012 he was recognized by the CDC as one of the twenty “most influential injury and violence professionals over the past 20 years.” His books include “_Private Guns & Public Health_” and “_While We Were Sleeping: Success Stories in Injury and Violence Prevention._” He has won 10 HSPH teaching awards and the inaugural HSPH Student Association community engagement award. In 2020-21 he was a Radcliffe Fellow.
Professor Kevin Drakulich’s recent work addresses three interrelated questions. The first question concerns social processes related to crime and its consequences across space—and in particular across neighborhoods and communities. A second line of research builds on the first by asking how people view crime, disorder, and social control processes within their community. Finally, a third line of research follows this line of thought beyond neighborhoods, examining how people view crime, control, and related policies more broadly, and how these views impact political behavior. Underlying all three of these lines of research are two overarching themes: race and racism, and interpersonal interactions and relationships. Professor Drakulich is a 2014 recipient of the National Institute of Justice’s W.E.B. Du Bois Fellowship as well as the 2014 New Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division of People of Color and Crime. In 2016, the students of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice awarded him the Robert Sheehan Excellence in Teaching Award.

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