Community leaders commit to address gun violence


AJAYLA JOHNSON, youth activist
“I am committed to being the loud voice in the crowd of quiet faces. We should all have the chance to reach our full potential. We were born into this generation and should have the opportunity to shape it for the next. Our plea will be heard.”

RICH FITZGERALD, Allegheny County Executive
“I commit to having county departments—including Health, Human Services, Police and others—work collaboratively with the community for a comprehensive approach to combating this public health issue.”

PASTOR NATHANIEL M. BROWN, president and CEO, 5A Elite Youth Empowerment
“I am committed to partnering with students to reverse the impacts of historical and generational trauma, while training them to activate holistic wellness in urban youth environments. “

ROBERT MARIN, MD, Board of Directors, Community Empowerment Association, Homewood, PA, associate director, Center for Public Service Psychiatry, UPMC Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
“I commit to working with others as an advocate and partner, an independent voice, an activist, good listener and not just someone who says, ‘Isn’t this terrible…someone should do something about this.’”

GERALDINE MASSEY MS PRC, Family Counselor/ Outreach Specialist, Center of Life
“I commit to having a mental health evaluation completed as an action in the prevention of gun violence.”

BETTY CRUZ, Founder, Change Agency, project director, All for All
“I commit to taking action for gun safety, including a ban on assault weapons in Pennsylvania, advocating for a federal licensing system that limits loopholes in purchasing guns by people who must never be armed and urging divestment from corporations who support the National Rifle Association, including institutions located right here in Pittsburgh. There are currently more guns in circulation in the United States than there are people. We need to build a future with fewer guns.”

FELICIA SAVAGE FRIEDMAN, BS, Med, registered yoga teacher-trainer, Yoga Alliance, yoga teacher, Urban Zen Integrative owner, YogaRoots on Location LLC, continuing education provider, YACEP-Yoga Alliance
“I commit to continue to publicly acknowledge that this country was colonized and is still ruled with the gun, which is the antithesis of love and acceptance. I choose love moment to moment.”

RICHARD GARLAND, MSW, assistant professor of behavioral and community health sciences, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
“I commit to the work of ending gun violence, especially in the urban communities. For years, I have stated one agency cannot be responsible for stopping the spread of this disease; it is all of us working together to treat this disease.”

WILLIAM PEDUTO, Mayor of Pittsburgh
“I commit to fighting gun violence by providing opportunities to all Pittsburgh neighborhoods—to take a gun out of someone’s hand and put a paycheck in it instead.”

DIANE POWELL, Black Women for Positive Change
“I commit to work toward changing a culture that leads to violence, one person, one family and one community at a time.”

“I commit to continuing to support the Trauma Response Team as a healing response to gun violence in our community.”

KAREN HACKER, director, Allegheny County Health Department
“I commit to educating the public on gun violence as a public health issue and continuing Allegheny County Health Department’s efforts to reduce it.”

PARISHA “SHAE” TAYLOR, youth activist
“I am committed to bringing the peace of God that surpasses all understanding by loving my generation so hard that they have no choice but to love for themselves.”

TIM STEVENS, Chairman and CEO, Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP), Co-convener, Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence (CAV)
“I am committed to expand our work to bring anti-violence youth summits to as many schools as possible in order to share our CAV strategies on gun violence and to share the personal pain and destruction gun deaths cause to family members, friends and the community at large. We will continue to partner with CeaseFirePA in advocating for rational and reasonable statewide gun legislation and background checks.”
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