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Letter to the editor for the week of Sept. 9

Curbing gun violence

Several days have passed since the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County community lost William Miller Jr. to senseless gun violence while receiving his education at Mount Tabor High School. As a city, we grieve the loss and give our sympathies to the family.

William Miller is one of many that have unnecessarily lost their lives in our community recently. This destructive trend is worse now more than ever. As a community, we must expect more from one another; we must work towards real change. Now is the time to engage our community and our officials in serious conversations about this violence and demand action that will become the catalyst for the change we want to see in our society.

Real change begins when we demand that our government institutions address the root causes of this senseless violence. Instead of addressing the root causes, the General Assembly spends their time fighting over whether a person should have a license to carry a concealed weapon or whether they must apply for a permit before purchasing a handgun. I’m talking about systemic issues regarding the lack of mental health resources for our community. I’m talking about a lack of opportunities for educational enrichment for our students. I’m talking about a deficit in jobs for our workers. Without these tools, how can we expect our children to grow up well?

Public officials on both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of using rhetoric and tactics that are unhelpful to resolving the issue of gun violence. What these government institutions should be doing — from city council to the United States Congress — is earmarking funds for community investment and to hire social workers. We must invest in the financial and mental health of our people and community.

Members of the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County community: This is where I ask you to join the Young Democrats of Forsyth County, Winston-Salem for Peace, Hope Dealers, and other organizations in a conversation about how to end gun violence in our community. And I ask that you join us to hold public officials accountable who are not working towards that goal.

To young people: The time is now to do our part. Our role is laid out for us. The path forward is clear. We are the future for our world and the movers and shakers that will shape our society’s destiny, its morals, and its legacy that we leave behind for future generations. We must ask the real questions: Are our elected officials voting to distribute funds for guidance counselors and psychologists in our schools? Are they ensuring that schools have a robust list of extracurricular activities? If the answer is no, then we must organize, engage and vote. We make our stand by being the leaders of the conversations. In other words, we must get up and get loud. The violence must end now.

— Jon McLamb
Winston-Salem