June 2, 2022
Video available at: https://youtu.be/8MW9h55OZMc
Man Up! CEO and Founder A.T. Mitchell to Co-Chair Task Force
Task Force Will Ensure Coordinated, Interagency Approach to Advance Upstream Approaches That Stem Tide of Gun Violence
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the formation of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, a comprehensive multiagency, cross-program effort to address the root causes of gun violence and prevent shootings before they take place. The new task force — formalized in Executive Order 19 (EO19) — will be co-chaired by Man Up! Inc. CEO and founder A.T. Mitchell and Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. Members will include First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phillip Banks, Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom, New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell, New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David Banks, Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz, and members of various city agencies.
“Gun violence is a struggle that has encompassed every part of our society, so we must do all we can to keep guns off our streets,” said Mayor Adams. “We need a holistic approach to confront it head-on, which is why I am today announcing the formation of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. This task force will be co-led by Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright and A.T. Mitchell and will ensure that community safety is every agency’s responsibility — not just that of first responders. We are going to help identify and advance upstream solutions to prevent gun violence by engaging with the communities most impacted by violence, identifying gaps in services, and getting them the resources to build them out. New York City is going to lead the way to keep guns off our streets.”
“The Adams administration understands the urgent need to address the gun violence crisis that has affected too many families across our city, especially in Black and Brown communities,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright, co-chair, Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “By working closely with our CMS providers and fostering greater interagency collaboration, we can turn the tide on this senseless bloodshed and make New York City safer for all.”
“I am honored to co-chair this new task force to zero in on the root causes of gun violence and put forward meaningful solutions,” said A.T. Mitchell, co-chair, Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “Mayor Adams has become an important voice in the national conversation around gun violence, and particularly how it impacts cities like New York. I look forward to working in collaboration with him, our deputy mayors, agency leaders, and Crisis Management teams, who do amazing work every day to save lives, to deepen these efforts.”
“Addressing the epidemic of gun violence will take a whole-of-government approach,” said First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo. “This new task force will work across city agencies to identify and put forward long-term solutions to this crisis. We thank co-chairs Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright and A.T. Mitchell for leading this important effort.”
“Gun violence happens in real time and needs real time resolutions,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “This is a task force by definition - that means tight, real-time collaboration and information sharing - the sure way to get results.”
“Building an equitable recovery depends on a safer city — and broad-based prosperity is foundational to public safety,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Upstream investments in job placement, workforce development, and greater opportunity for all New Yorkers, especially young people, is a critical part of the administration’s strategy to reduce gun violence.”
“Gun violence is a public health crisis, and public health tools must be part of our broader violence prevention strategy,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Investing in social services and community health programs are proven to reduce violence long-term, and this task force will work to identify and expand these services to under-resourced communities throughout our city.”
“I am deeply concerned about the safety in our city and the impact on our schools, and I stand ready to work with our dedicated school staff, violence interrupters, NYPD School Safety Agents, community-based organizations, and our partner agencies to bring peace to our city,” said New York City Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “Together, we will work every single day to ensure that our streets are safe, our communities are welcoming, and our schools remain vital refuges for our students.”
“Gun violence requires a 360-degree approach,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “That means engaging with parents, that means role models in school, that means community members with street credibility. A.T. Mitchell turned his own life around to guide others to the right path. I welcome him to the team.”
“The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force demonstrates Mayor Adams' commitment to safety for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Director Deanna Logan. “A.T. Mitchell is a dedicated and deeply valued leader within the Crisis Management System, and I am looking forward to working with him in this new capacity to achieve safer communities.”
“We know that lack of access to secure, affordable housing exacerbates the conditions that lead to violence, which is one the reasons we as a city must finally tackle our housing crisis,” said New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “Ensuring New Yorkers have homes and communities where they can live and raise families will be a critical step in building a safer New York City.”
“Gun violence has taken too many residents’ lives and left scars of trauma in our city’s neighborhoods,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “This is a health crisis that calls for action from every corner of our city. Pairing agency heads with Crisis Management leaders, utilizing real time data and investing in upstream interventions will ensure that we find solutions to prevent gun violence and achieve health equity.”
The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force will convene leadership from several city agencies, including the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS), the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and numerous others.
Members of the task force will meet regularly to solve problems in real time and ensure that all agencies are held accountable for making and keeping New York neighborhoods safe. Its scope includes engaging with communities most impacted by violence, identifying gaps in services and programming, expanding programs with a proven record of success into underserved areas, and fostering greater interagency and government/community collaboration. The task force will also work in close partnership with the Crisis Management System (CMS), which deploys credible messengers to mediate and de-escalate disputes before they become violent. CMS providers have proven to be successful in driving down gun violence in areas where they have been deployed: Between 2010 and 2019, program areas have seen a 40 percent reduction in shootings, compared to 31 percent in other areas.
Mayor Adams also announced that each city agency shall designate an anti-gun violence liaison, delivering on a key plank of his Blueprint to End Gun Violence, unveiled earlier this year. These liaisons will serve as the key point-of-contact for the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and CMS providers and will take immediate action to resolve any gun violence challenges related to their agency.
The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force is part of a broader comprehensive approach spearheaded by Mayor Adams to tackle the crisis of gun violence, in collaboration with partners both within and outside of government. Recognizing the myriad factors that contribute to gun violence, the strategy aims to enhance several programs and initiatives across all areas of government, including housing, public health, education, youth programing, economic development, and workforce development. Over the course of the coming weeks and months, the administration will roll out new policies to build on Mayor Adams’ groundbreaking investments to promote a holistic vision of public safety.
Since taking office, Mayor Adams has taken significant steps to invest in both interventive and preventive models of public safety, including:
“This task force will drive strategy and resources to the communities suffering most from gun violence and its root causes, including the need for social services and health care,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Investing in prevention and intervention services, especially as schools let out for the summer, will ensure fewer New Yorkers lose their lives to guns.”
“The gun violence epidemic plaguing our city and country is a public safety crisis that impacts every aspect of all of our lives,” said New York City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks, chair, Committee on Public Safety. “Turning the tide on it will absolutely require an all hands-on deck, inter-agency approach, and I am encouraged that this Administration is taking tangible action to get this done. Especially as we enter the summer months, it is crucial to address the root causes of gun violence and do whatever it takes to prevent our young people from getting involved in it.”
“The mayor’s announcement to cultivate a NYC Gun Violence Prevention task force is pressing to protect and rebuild our communities from the prevalent tragedies and trauma caused by gun violence,” said New York City Councilmember Kevin C. Riley. “With the projected multi-agency effort and continued City partnership with CMS groups and the community, we can provide underserved communities with expansive, comprehensive services, as well as crisis prevention and response. This is critical to improving the quality of life for New York City families, especially in communities of color which are disproportionately affected by this public health issue.”
“It is important to invest in our young people on the front end, so we don’t have to invest in them on the backend. We must focus on community-driven solutions to respond to inequity and turmoil in our neighborhoods and empower community members to be in the frontlines of this movement,” said New York City Councilmember Althea Stevens.
“Gun violence is an epidemic that continues to plague our city. Unfortunately, our communities have interconnected conditions that continue to incubate violence, and it's time to create solutions for addressing this public health crisis,” said New York City Councilmember Nantasha Williams. “I look forward to working alongside Mayor Adams, New York City Gun Violence Prevention Task Force (GVPTF), CMS groups and our community members, as we tackle the root causes of this issue and work towards eliminating gun violence in our community.”
“All New Yorkers deserve to live in peace. The impact of gun violence reverberates through communities, creating trauma, hurt, and unease. Too many have been devastated,” said New York City Councilmember Gale Brewer. “I commend Mayor Adams for convening the New York City Gun Violence Prevention Task Force to protect public safety and public health through interagency collaboration.”
“Everyone in our city is concerned about the gun violence affecting too many of our neighborhoods - including the district that I represent in the Bronx. We must use every tool, and must work collaboratively, to implement effective and holistic solutions that will help prevent crime,” said New York City Councilmember Oswald Feliz. “I thank Mayor Eric Adams for unequivocally making public safety his top priority and doing everything within his power to help resolve the crisis.”
“Gun violence is the most serious crisis our city is facing today. I commend Mayor Adams for acknowledging this sad reality and for taking significant steps fighting this plague using proven strategies,” said New York City Councilmember Ari Kagan. “We need to have all hands on a deck when working to prevent gun violence, including in Coney Island and other areas of Southern Brooklyn. Only comprehensive approach that involves every city agency, school leaders and clergy, community organizations and elected officials can be successful. I am ready to stand with Mayor in this very important fight!”
“As a former commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, I made it a priority to investigate potentially illegal and unlicensed sales of secondhand guns in New York City. I commend Mayor Adams for continuing to address and create a comprehensive gun violence strategy that will bring multiple city agencies together as well as enhanced community engagement with neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin.
“The recent tragedies in Uvalde and Buffalo have demonstrated once again that our nation is in the midst of a gun violence epidemic,” said New York City Councilmember Keith Powers. “As we grieve the loss of more innocent people at the hands of gun violence, it’s imperative that New York is doing everything in its power to keep fighting for gun safety. I commend Mayor Adams for leading on this issue and bolstering our city’s gun prevention strategy.”
“Gun violence is a public health crisis, and its pervasive presence in communities nationwide is a devastating testament to our government’s failure to protect its people,” said New York City Councilmember Carlina Rivera. “As a city, we have a responsibility to end this epidemic through solutions that focus on community-led violence intervention and prevention, and with longer-term policies around quality affordable housing, employment and food security, and equitable access to healthcare,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “I commend the Mayor on today’s announcement of the New York City Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and look forward to continuing to work together with partners throughout the city to address the root causes of gun violence and care for New Yorkers.”
“This announcement comes at a critical juncture where root causes of gun violence have been exacerbated throughout and as a result of the pandemic. Just this past month, our office had to take cover in broad daylight twice as shots were fired right outside, forcing us to seek shelter and safety,” said New York City Councilmember Pierina Sanchez. “As soon as this happened, the leadership of community advocates and cure violence groups made it easier to support our community, even as law enforcement worked to apprehend the responsible. We must be clear: the collective trauma of constantly hearing, seeing or experiencing shots fired in our community has devastating impacts on our residents. We shouldn't have to think twice about walking down our own blocks, or whether our kids can play in the garden. Gun violence is a public health crisis. We must uproot its deepest causes even as we tackle its immediate realities. We can do so by forging a just recovery from the pandemic: dramatically increasing community access to youth programming and after-school care, to stabilized and affordable housing and good paying jobs, to opportunity and ultimately, to stability.”
“Curbing gun violence isn’t just about keeping weapons out of the hands of the wrong people, it’s also about addressing the myriad reasons people resort to gun violence in the first place,” said New York City Councilmember Sandra Ung. “The mayor’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, by convening leadership from numerous city agencies who will work with community partners that have a proven track record of success, will deliver on providing the social services and resources our under-served communities need to address this public health crisis.”
“Since entering office our city has been plagued by gun violence in our hospitals, public schools, transit system, places of work, and our streets. It’s imperative we address the root of gun violence, and Mayor Adams’ Blueprint to End Gun Violence, and the newly announced formation of a New York City Gun Violence Prevention Task Force will combat the escalating gun crime,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velazquez. “Public safety is inherent to quality of life and I’m eager to see the improvements made by Executive Order 19, and co-chairs A.T. Mitchell, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom, Deputy Mayor for public Safety Phil Banks, and NYC Department of Education Chancellor David Banks.”
“We welcome the mayor's initiative to introduce the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force,” said Pastor Edward-Richard Hinds, president, 67th Precinct Clergy Council, “The GodSquad.” “Gun Violence continues to be an unfortunate reality that gnaws away at the very fabric of our society. No one is immune to this "gundemic", but it can be remedied through an in-depth understanding and infusion of resources into the root of the problem that promotes preventative interventions. The GodSquad remains committed to the process, to help ensure that all continue to take the necessary precautions and help save lives.”
“The mayor could not have picked a better person to chair such an important task force during these times. I commend Mayor Adams for being proactive in getting to the root cause of gun violence,” said Kevin Livingston, executive director, 100Suits.
“Gun violence prevention requires a team approach. We are proud to be a part of this proactive movement to save all of our youth from a community centric culturally competent perspective,” said Dr. Demetrius Carolina, executive director, The Central Family Life Center.
“We are inspired by Mayor Adams’ formation of The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force (GVPTF) as this announcement brings a renewed and strengthened momentum for a multilateral solution to the scourge of Gun violence in our communities,” said K. Bain, founder and executive director, Community Capacity Development. “This effort to address root causes of the pandemic of violence in our city is in complete alignment with Community Capacity Development’s human justice framework and our organizational mission centered on uprooting systemic challenges in communities of color. We are encouraged to see our brother, AT Mitchell, appointed to his new role in this leadership initiative. This moment is a juncture of incredible opportunity for real change and transformation in New York City.”
“I applaud Mayor Adams for his leadership at a time when our city is besieged by increased gun violence. The administration’s creation of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force adds a vital element to the other steps the mayor has taken to keep our communities safe. Identifying the root causes of gun violence and addressing those issues will make a significant difference,” said Camara Jackson, executive director, Elite Learners Inc. “The formation of the task force is also timely, as the traditional summer spike in firearm-related violence is just weeks away.”
“We must and we will come together to stem the gun violence epidemic plaguing our communities and our country,” said Vikki Pryor, president and CEO, Getting Out and Staying Out GOSO. “Through our Cure Violence SAVE team and community programs here at GOSO, we work every day to interrupt gun violence and outreach to our communities to provide support with employment, housing, education, and mental health for those involved with the criminal legal system. All too often our communities lack access to crucial resources that can and do make a difference. Mayor Adams is commended for including an inter-agency response in his plan to address this serious crisis and for continuing to support the hard work Crisis Management System teams do every day in our neighborhoods.”
“A.T. is a pillar in his hometown of Brooklyn, respected around the nation and is well equipped to lead this endeavor as the Czar of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force (GVPTF),” said Erica Ford, founder, LIFE Camp. “We at LIFE Camp and CMS as a whole look forward to continued work and collaboration with him to create solutions that affect positive change throughout our city and beyond.”
“Today’s announcement of AT Mitchell as the Chair of NYC Mayor Eric Adams Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, sends out a clear signal about how serious this administration takes the issue of gun violence reduction,” said Dr. Divine Pryor, CEO, Peoples Police Academy. “This appointment represents a serious commitment to the fight against gun violence, as AT Mitchell is both a pioneer and champion in the field. I could not be more excited about the formation of this Task Force and am certain that under his leadership, we will experience marked reductions in gun violence in New York City. It is with pride and admiration that I pledge my full support of this task force and its Chair, AT Mitchell, and wish it nothing but the greatest success.”
“Our Rock Safe Streets team works diligently in Far Rockaway to not just interrupt gun violence, but to provide a different path for young people,” said Elizabeth McCarthy, CEO, Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services. “We have seen the impact of offering resources and addressing root causes at individual and community levels and we fully support the creation of this taskforce that will do the same citywide.”
“As our country and city grapple with the profound effects of increasing gun violence, the creation of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force is a move in the right direction. Mayor Adams' decision to appoint AT Mitchell as co-chair demonstrates the mayor's commitment to including holistic perspectives and community-driven ideas as we tackle the behemoth challenge of gun violence,” said Reverend Wendy Calderón-Payne, executive director, Urban Youth Alliance (BronxConnect). “AT Mitchell is a long-standing community leader with ample experience combating violence on the ground. Gun violence is a highly complex, multifaceted issue. To sustainably reduce violence, we will need upstream solutions that consider underlying drivers, such as employment and mental health. We are encouraged by the fact that AT Mitchell will adopt a cross-agency approach, and we applaud Mayor Adams for elevating his leadership.”