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Everytown: Summer Youth Programs Prevent Gun Violence Need Funding in 2021


New Fact Sheet Shows Need for Increased Funding for Summer Programming for Youth, As Gun Violence Continues to Dominate Headlines and Cities Prepare for Violent Summers

NEW YORK —  Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, today released a new fact sheet detailing the need for funding for youth summer programming in preventing gun violence. In cities like Boston, New York City, and Chicago, summer youth development and employment programs provide young people with educational and mentorship opportunities, prepare them for the workforce, add income to their homes, and are proven to reduce violence. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the impact of our country’s gun violence crisis. There were 3,906 additional firearm deaths and 9,278 additional firearm injuries in 2020 compared to 2019. Although funding was cut significantly for summer youth programs in 2020, cities have the ability to reinvest in youth programming using American Rescue Plan and Department of Education funding this year.

The fact sheet details how: 

  • Violent crime tends to increase in the summer. Crime trends show that cities often experience increases in violent crime during the warm days of summer. 
  • Youth are at high-risk for becoming victims and participants of gun violence. American youth ages 15 to 24 are 23 times more likely to be killed with guns than those in other high-income countries. 
  • Gun violence is costly. Gun violence costs the US $280 billion each year, of which $12.7 billion is paid by taxpayers.
  • Youth development and employment programs are proven to reduce violence. Summer youth employment programs in Boston, New York City, and Chicago have demonstrated that they have longer-term impacts on crime. 

“With the colliding crises of COVID-19 and gun violence today, funding summer programming for youth has never been more important,” said Ade Osadalor, a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board and a leader of the Chicago Students Demand Action Summer Leadership Academy. “Gun violence deeply affects young people in cities, and it’s the responsibility of lawmakers at every level to fund these programs that are proven to reduce violence. I know firsthand from the Summer Leadership Academy how life changing these programs can be.”

“The gun violence epidemic is getting worse, and it’s affecting more and more young people in our country,” said Michael-Sean Spence, Director of Community Safety Initiatives at Everytown for Gun Safety. “We cannot accept this rise in gun violence when we know there are community-based solutions at work that are proven to reduce gun violence. By reinvesting in our youth, cities can save money and more importantly save lives.”

Students Demand Action volunteers are working to combat the increase in youth gun violence over summer with Summer Leadership Academies in Detroit, Tampa, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Nashville. The program started in 2019 in South Central Los Angeles and has since expanded to five cities working with students to cultivate leadership and organizing skills to combat gun violence. Additionally, the program has a paid internship component in local government offices such as the Los Angeles mayor’s office and the Urban Peace Institute in Los Angeles.