NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal met with leaders from gun violence prevention groups. They are looking for ammunition in the fight to keep anti-violence funding in the bill.
You’ve probably heard of the Build Back Better plan — a huge federal spending plan at $3.5 trillion. Now it’s half of that. In there, is $5 billion to combat gun violence on city streets. The Connecticut senators want to make sure that $5 billion doesn’t shrink with the rest of the bill.
“What could we do if we had billions and billions of dollars to double, triple, quadruple the size of community anti-gun violence programs,” Murphy said.
Most of that gun violence is committed by young men, so many groups try to make sure they have something to do and someone to talk to.
“Pro-social activities, addressing their needs to reduce their risk,” Leonard Jahad, CT VIP Executive Director said. “That’s obvious in any case management system and a lot of mediation. A lot of mediation, because people just don’t talk.
“So many of our youth are out there doing what they’re doing because they are trying to survive,” Marlene Miller-Pratt, mother of a victim said. “The parents don’t have the means, or they are working trying to get the means and they are just trying to survive.”
Murphy and Blumenthal said they are preparing to spend the next two weeks in Washington debating what stays and goes from the bill, and they want to make sure this funding stays.
“To enable communities, at the grassroots level, to make a difference in saving lives,” Blumenthal said.
So, where would that money go? For one thing, hiring more outreach workers and paying them better. Right now, they make so little they have to have second jobs. They get burned out quickly and these groups have lots of turnover and some workers don’t get the experience they need to do the job well.