Earlier this month, the Miami chapter of the Black Nurses Association has declared a public health crisis. This declared crisis has nothing to do with the Zika virus or any other type of disease. The crisis pertains to the rampant killings of young people throughout Miami-Dade County in Florida.
In a January press release for the National Black Nurses Association, Dr. Eric J. Williams cited stats from The Kelly Report that substantiate the claim:
- Gun violence has killed more Americans in the past 50 years than any single war
- gun violence poses a major threat in communities of color
- each year more than 100,000 people are victims of gun violence and more than 30,000 die each year
- individuals under age 25 , face the threat of gun violence.
Furthermore, gun violence remains the leading cause of death for Black males between the ages of 10 and 29. “The nurses are fed up,” president of the Miami chapter Linda Brown told the Miami Herald. “It’s an emotional toll on the people who are exposed to the death.”
In addition to the harm caused by gun violence, the nurses believe that neither victims, witness or aggressors are receiving the proper psychological help needed to heal. “You have children walking home from school and right before their eyes, they see someone getting gunned down,” said nurse and association member Alecia Bethel. “The soldiers in Iraq, they get assistance for that, for post-traumatic stress syndrome. They get counseling.”
Dr. Marvin Dunn has also worked in inner-cities throughout the nation in the area of childhood development. He began working on more than 40 capital murder cases with state prisons, following his three decades of teaching psychology at Florida International University. He found that virtually all of the men had been exposed to violence early in life. The Herald documented his thoughts:
“People become immune to it,” Dunn said. And they’re keeping their mouths shut about it.
“No snitching” — or refusing to cooperate with police — has become the norm in the lower-income areas prone to violence, Dunn said. “The police cannot stop this epidemic. People have to start talking.”
On Saturday March 5, the organization held its Unity Prayer Breakfast to spread awareness to politicians, healthcare providers and counselors. The flyers of the breakfast bore the slogan “Breaking The Silence To End The Violence.” Afterwards, the Black nurses vowed to invest money and resources back into the affected communities, “including an effort to increase rewards for helping investigators solve crimes.” A fund to support the families of victims is also in the works. President Brown said, “But what we want to do is see what everyone is doing and look at who has been successful. This is a problem that we will have to solve.”