Today is the second day of celebrating National Public Health Week. The daily theme is violence prevention, an element of public health that is part of daily live in our communities but often shunned.
Violence wreaks havoc on communities across the world. The result of violence ruins homes, tears down neighborhoods and leaves those affected by it in emotional turmoil. Every day we see others who suffer because of violence and feel as if we can do nothing to prevent it. Violence comes in different forms; we are all aware of gun violence. According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), gun-related deaths are steadily rising with over 27,000 deaths related to homicides and almost 45,000 suicides between 2015 and 2016 which all involved guns (APHA, n.d).
Not only is gun violence a subject that should be spoken out about, but also the mindsets that influence such behaviors that initiate heavy gun use. Mass shootings have taken place in unsurmountable waves that in which have greatly plagued the United States. The stigmas behind the mindset that influence mass murders are often politically, racially and religion-driven. Other rates of violence are also largely based on poverty, racial bias and interpersonal family and social disputes.
My question to you: in what ways can each of us help to prevent violence within our communities? Amongst a population filled with people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and mindsets, how can we ensure safety for our community as a whole? Not only for ourselves, our children, families and friends, but how do we task ourselves to do better for our entire community and everyone who resides in it? True enough, opinions on laws, regulations on guns and attitudes on violence prevention are widely divided amongst our people, but we all can still play a part in finding ways to decrease violence in our communities.
So, my challenge to you is this: research the current policies, laws and regulations in your home state. Find ways to become part of the conversation against not only gun violence, but child abuse, domestic abuse, high crime in neighborhoods and other forms of violence. Then, apply your personal passions to the contest for prevention. How can you, in the position you are currently in, advocate for safer neighborhoods? How can you advocate for women and children who are largely affected by physical abuse? How can we create a culture that advocates for safety and prevention that no longer tolerates violence as normalcy?
As a part of National Public Health Week, I invite each of you to use your power, careers and volunteer efforts to find ways to proactively engage as you deem appropriate thinking about and for those who may not be able to do for themselves.
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Violence Prevention. (n.d.) APHA. Retrieved from http://nphw.org/nphw-2019/violence-prevention
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.