For immediate release Wednesday, April 22, 2015
For more information, contact Dr. Patricia McManus
Email: [email protected]
Health Advocacy Agency Creates Petition Against Toy Guns
Call-to-Action Issued to Black Moms and Grandmothers
Milwaukee, WI – At a time when the Black community in Milwaukee and across the country is being traumatized by increased gun violence, Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, Inc. (BHCW) has created the Black Moms and Grandmothers Against Toy Guns petition through Color of Change. “We are offering this petition as one way to address a very complex issue,” stated Dr. Patricia McManus, President/CEO of Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, Inc.
African Americans, who make up only 6.5 percent of Wisconsin’s population, accounted for two-thirds of its firearm homicide victims in 2014. Blacks in Wisconsin were more than 30 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die in gun homicides. From 2008 to 2012, federal statistics show, this ratio was 20 to 1 for Wisconsin and 10 to 1 for the nation.
In 2014, three Milwaukee kids age 10 and under were fatally shot. So far in 2015, gun violence injuries and deaths in Milwaukee are rapidly nearing the overall total for 2014.
It is without question that viable solutions to eradicate gun violence in the Black community are needed. The rate of gun related deaths in the African American community is much higher than the national average. This violence occurs within the Black community; whether through gang activity, robberies, unintentional injuries and other methods. All too often lately there has been increased gun violence perpetrated on Black people by the police. Some of these cases involved the victims having toy guns police officers thought were real guns.
Some may say kids have played with toy guns for generations. Dr. McManus argues that violence has increased so dramatically that children can no longer innocently play with toy guns. There has been a desensitizing to violence based on exposure to gun violence in video games and movies. The constant exposure has normalized violence.
Dr. McManus asserts that there is a direct correlation with the playing of guns as kids and the involvement with violence later in life. McManus believes mixed messages are given to kids when they are allowed to play with toy guns, “they don’t have the ability to discern the difference between playing and the deadly consequences that come with real guns.”