Letters to the Editor: Gun violence, nonprofit dilemma

By , Daily Memphian Published: April 10, 2021 4:00 AM CT

Letters today discuss gun violence and the dilemma nonprofits face thanks to the pandemic.

Letter to the Editor: Gun violence is a public health emergency

5:06 PM CT, April 9

I read “The shooting death of a 4-year-old calls for outrage” by Church Health CEO Dr. G. Scott Morris just as I was seeing news that President Joe Biden announced that gun violence is an “epidemic.” 

The president is right. 

Opinion: The shooting death of a 4-year-old calls for outrage

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearm-related injury is the second leading cause of death and injury for youth in our country. The costs associated with those deaths, along with medical and work loss, is over $16 billion. The emotional and psychological costs to families and communities is incalculable.

I agree with Dr. Morris that this is not a left-versus-right issue or North-versus-East Memphis issue: This is an emergency public health crisis! Just as we are responding to COVID-19 in a variety of ways including testing, education, vaccines, masks, fewer gatherings and caring for the homebound, we should be responding to the epidemic of violence, and gun violence especially.

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Cities like Memphis need comprehensive, citywide efforts to reduce gun violence affecting youth and increase targeted funding toward initiatives that work. Mayors cannot do this alone. They need business, philanthropic and community leaders to commit to whatever it takes to eradicate the disease of violence. This helps public leaders keep initiatives going from one administration to another.

Addressing gun violence as a true epidemic means we create a public health framework around the safety of youth. It should be a framework that aligns agendas of law enforcement, courts, schools and service-providers. It should be data-driven, have true community engagement, and should include public daily briefings by chief health experts holding us all accountable. 

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By doing this we can isolate the contagions that lead to repeated encounters with the justice system, unsafe schools and blighted neighborhoods. We can support educational attainment and help citizens successfully reintegrate into our communities after detention or incarceration. 

We know how to end epidemics. Let’s prove we are ready as a city and as a nation to treat this as a public health crisis. Let’s prove to Rashod that we really heard him. It’s time to drop the nonsensical rhetoric and policies regarding guns in this country and move forward so that every child is safe.

Richard Greenwald, president and CEO of Soulsville Foundation


Letter to the Editor: Nonprofits face a financial dilemma

5:48 PM CT, April 9

Just one year ago, our resolve as a nation was challenged as we grappled with uncertainties and a “new normal” caused by the pandemic. Our ability to come together in the Memphis region to help each other is something to be celebrated, emulated and not forgotten.

From Day One of this pandemic, I saw resilience, compassion and selflessness firsthand as the president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis. Memphians didn’t hesitate to see how we could serve the urgent needs of not only the youth and families we serve but those in our community.

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If done correctly, the federal American Rescue Plan will help nonprofits continue to provide critical services. The coming summer months will be vital for our young people as we aim to make up for the significant learning opportunities they lost, while combating increased rates of hunger and food insecurity and mitigating the longer-term harm on social and emotional development that young people experienced over the last year.

Certain provisions in the law, such as critical investment in summer and after-school learning and enrichment activities, emergency childcare funding and increased Paycheck Protection Program funding, will help as we move forward in our community response. Nonprofits are grateful for this much-needed relief, but additional support is required to keep providing critical services to the adults and children in Memphis that need them most. Nonprofits like ours face a financial dilemma as we have decreased revenues and increased demand for services.

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The Work Now Act recently introduced in Congress would create a grant program to assist nonprofit organizations to retain their employees and continue services that have been critical to our country’s COVID-19 response and recovery. We must address the glaring learning losses our students now face due to extended school closures and remote learning. The pandemic has widened the education and skills gap for too many of our country’s young people, especially our students living in poverty.

Further investments, especially by the private sector, must be made in programs that contribute to skill development, workforce readiness as well as strengthening the emotional wellness of our young people. They are the future, and we must prepare them for that future today. 

Keith Blanchard, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis 



Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis gun control Gun Crime nonprofit pandemic COVID
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The Daily Memphian welcomes a diverse range of views and invites readers to submit Letters to the Editor at letters@dailymemphian.com. Submissions should be fewer than 250 words in length. Preference will be given to letters addressing local issues. Writers must provide their name, city where they reside, email address and phone number. Letters that are published will include the writer’s name and city. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.