Mayor Adams’ Anti-Gun Violence Workshop & Town Hall: From a Student’s Perspective


If you are like me and got an email from Ms. Downs the morning of May 8 2023, you would understand my surprise at the opportunity presented in said email. After all, it is not every day that students are invited into a Town Hall regarding gun violence. It is for this very reason that I took this opportunity as soon as I got notice of it. I thought that such an event was bound to attract multiple interested parties and with a limited number of spots for 10 people, I wasn’t going to take any chances.

When May 11th finally came, I was ready, I felt ready. My experience with the topic and my reading of The Blueprint to End Gun Violence, created by the Adams’ administration, helped with my preparation in the days leading up to the meeting. I had an understanding of the approach Mayor Eric Adams had on this issue which he would potentially talk about as well as the things he would highlight. Like every politician, he would say that while he’s been in office, things have gotten better. That the future is looking so much brighter because of him. Isn’t that crazy? How with every politician, in every term, things are just better and yet somehow we, as citizens, don’t feel or notice anything getting. On the contrary, it feels like everything just gets worse every year. Let’s also not forget Mayor Adams’ seemingly favorite thing to do, giving more power to the NYPD so they can “help” with the issue at hand, gun violence. This is seen in The Blueprint to End Gun Violence, where at least one third of the blueprint is the administration signing off on providing the NYPD more money and power, going into very specific detail. That is without regard to the increasingly high amount of innocent people that keep dying on their hands.

What he didn’t go into much detail was how to create opportunities of employment so that people won’t continue to fall into criminal activity as a means to survive. In a country where poverty is an endless battle for survival in the middle of a wild jungle, politicians continue to advocate for increased funds to the police, feeding the predators of the lower class. Numerous studies have shown that the biggest reason a person might fall to committing crime is poverty, “This hypothesis is further confirmed from data in Alaska, whose eligible citizens have been receiving a cash dividend since the 1980s. In other words, most property crime is committed by people who feel they need to do so out of survival” (OK Justice Reform).

I was ready, I was more than ready. I did my homework.

Going in things were pretty straightforward, we were put in a class where we agreed on the policies of our conversation. An established understanding of mutual respect and open mindedness of different ideas that we might not agree with. Once we got that out the way, we talked about policies and questions we would like to ask Mayor Adams about. We spent around two hours discussing different topics, the room flourished with ideas and was a collaborative environment for people to express their opinions.

After this workshop, we headed downstairs where we were offered food, a drink and a seat. There they introduced us to organizations in The Bronx like Guns Down Life Up, who work inside of various hospitals like Lincoln Hospital to support gun violence victims. Once introductions were done questions started rolling, we weren’t the only group that were creating questions but rather we were part of about eight different groups all from different backgrounds. Many questions were asked but the Mayor didn’t arrive at the site until the 3rd group went. That’s when we were actually able to get some answers from the man himself. The answers were just as predicted, generic and a lot of promises that will eventually be broken. Among many others, some of the promises were a better relationship between the community and the NYPD, more budget and better pay for teachers, and access to better mental health support.

This is when I came along, after all I was promised an opportunity to ask a question to the Mayor. My question was simple enough and based on his plans for fighting gun violence, instead of funding the NYPD, who keep killing more black people every year, why don’t we try to focus funds into another public resource like education, which has proven to lower crime rates? His response was not something I expected, I have to say, “In order to take away funds from the police we have to decrease crime first, in order to do that we must give more to the police.” I have to admit that although a bit suspicious, that answer was enough for me for a while until I thought further about it and questioned it.

This crime surge, referred to by Mayor Adams, could be connected to the current increase of inflation in the US. According to Y Chart, inflation has done nothing but gone up since June 2020, and although it hit its peak in June 2022, we still haven’t gotten to pre-pandemic numbers. Giving power to the police won’t help anyone. Instead of addressing the problems of the system that led to a culture of “survival of the fittest,” the issue falls to the people for seemingly failing that same system. In reality, the only people who seem to be failing the system are leaders like Eric Adams, who keep turning the people against itself.