A display of T-shirts representing Delaware County residents killed over the past five years.
Last year Chester set a record of a kind it doesn’t like to set: 30 violent deaths, most of which involved guns killing young men of color. That in a year when the homicide rate was down in most parts of the country. Now Chester Eastside, Inc., has joined others in the community seeking to stop the violence. Its Board unanimously passed a resolution to that effect at its April meeting, putting the agency squarely on the side of the peacemakers.
Overall, the statistics say that the number other serious crimes is down from what it was in Chester. So there are signs of progress. Which doesn’t take away from the need for action when it comes to gun violence.
In a strongly-worded resolution that appears at the end of this article, the Chester Eastside Board committed itself to join the fight for more effective gun control and include content on the subject in its programs.
Such efforts are not new to Chester Eastside. Some years ago it gave birth to and continues to support the Peace Leadership and Arts Summer Camp that helps young people find alternative ways to settle their differences and work for a more peaceful society.
It’s not only the risk of bodily harm that is at stake. Children exposed to the trauma of having family members die violently and parents worried about their children’s safety are also hurt by the threat of gun violence.
Chester Eastside is hoping more churches and community organizations will also join in the effort to stop the violence.
Here is the full text of the resolution passed by Chester Eastside, Inc.’s Board:
Whereas, Chester Eastside, Inc., is committed to working for a just society; and
Whereas, African American males are only 6 percent of the U.S. population but nearly 40 percent of those murdered in any given year; and
Whereas, a major threat to the wellbeing of the people of Chester, particular among young people, is gun violence; and
Whereas, such threat includes both direct danger to life and limb and indirect effects such as trauma; and
Whereas, contrary to national trends in recent years, the 30 homicides in Chester during 2014, most of them gun-related, set a new record; and,
Whereas, there exist various initiatives to reduce gun violence in Chester and elsewhere; therefore,
Be it resolved that Chester Eastside, Inc., work to include content on this issue in its programs; and,
Be it further resolved that Chester Eastside, Inc., commit itself to support the Peace, Leadership & the Arts Camp; and
Be it further resolved that Chester Eastside, Inc., join Heeding God’s Call in their efforts to reduce gun violence; and
Be it further resolved that Chester Eastside, Inc., seek to involve additional organizations in this cause; and,
Be it further resolved that Chester Eastside make known the above initiatives to its stakeholders and the general public in order to encourage their support.