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Freedom to Play, Learn, Live, and Thrive: A Youth-Serving Professional Call to Action to Address Firearm Violence

      Every day 28 youth in the United States die from firearm violence [
      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      National center for injury prevention and Control. Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system (WISQARS).
      ]. Racial inequity in firearm violence is stark and longstanding [
      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      National center for injury prevention and Control. Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system (WISQARS).
      ]. Protecting youth requires tackling root causes of violence, including structural oppression, racism, poverty, and systemic divestment in communities, and addressing how firearms have been and continue to be used as tools of racial subjugation. School shootings and mass shootings often promote a national dialogue about firearm safety and account for a small proportion of firearm-related deaths. As youth-serving professionals, we must address the violence that impacts communities daily, quietly traumatizing and eroding our adolescents' wellbeing. We must reckon with racist ideology, which for too long has dictated who we as a society view as deserving of our collective grief. We must be unwavering in our commitment that all children and adolescents deserve the freedom to play, learn, live, and thrive without the threat of firearm violence.
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