Protect Black Youth NOW

Statement by National NOW President Christian F. Nunes  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the mother of a Black son, I am terrified at the state of our country. The brutal shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, a young Black teenager who was attempting to pick up his twin siblings, is devastating not just in the senseless violence enacted against an innocent child, but also that it is a part of a frightening trend in this country. And it begs the question, where’s the justice for our young Black boys and girls?  

There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023 so far – a sickening fact. But it doesn’t stop there. Shootings of children have exacerbated since the pandemic, but studies show that Black children were 100 times more likely to be shot than white children.  

There is also a distinct lack of care or attention afforded to young Black girls and women. In July 2022, three Black girls in Texas (Zi’Ariel Robinson-Oliver, 9, A’Miyah Hughes, 8, and Te’Mari Robinson-Oliver, 5) were mysteriously killed in what was originally ruled a drowning – a disgusting miscarriage of justice. A year on, there still isn’t even a suspect. There are currently more than 75,000 missing Black girls and women in this country, a crisis that receives almost no attention. We must call it out for what it is – institutional racism and this country’s acceptance of violence against women, particularly when they are Black.  

I have no control over the ways in which the world perceives my son, and the prevalence of violence enacted against innocent Black children in a country that does not protect them fills me with pain and sorrow – and anger. What I can control is how I use my platform to make a stand and call for change. As president of the National Organization for Women, I am calling for America to wake up and realize what most of the world already has – gun control is not a topic of debate but a necessity. NOW continues to stand against racial injustice and calls for an immediate end to such widespread and senseless gun violence.  

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