“African-American clergy leaders hear daily the cries of the parents, family and friends of those whose precious lives have been snuffed out by guns and other types of violence.”
Denominational leaders have joined in recentmultifaith calls to address gun violence, especially after December’s deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. But the Rev. Stephen Thurston, president of the National Baptist Convention of America, said black pastors have dealt with such violence long before attention was drawn to gun violence in predominantly white communities.
“This is what happens every day and every week in America in some urban city,” he said before the coalition meeting. “Within the black community, it has been happening for so long.”
Gun violence is the leading cause of death of black males ages 15-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Children’s Defense Fund reported that in 2009 black male teens were eight times more likely to die from gun violence than white teenage males.
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