Wilmington City Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz wants to solicit help from the Center for Disease Control in an effort to address the city’s growing gun and crime problem.
The request is the basis of a resolution she is set to bring before city council Thursday night. Shabazz wants to ask the CDC to study the increase in gun violence among Wilmington’s African American youth.
“What I’m hoping is that we will be able to get some of the supportive resources that have been proven through the process of studying this learned behavior, this violent behavior that’s plaguing our community,” said Shabazz, whose district includes neighborhoods routinely affected by crime.
Shabazz calls the city’s violence a “pandemic” that’s spreading among youth as they become “desensitized” to violence, due to generations of inequality dating back to slavery.
“We all know there’s a post traumatic syndrome that the African American community is still suffering from, from slavery,” said Shabazz. “That has not been cured.”
She said decades of inadequate education, unemployment and other lack of opportunities, on top of the post traumatic stress of slavery and the easy access to guns has created a community filled with dysfunction.
“It needs to be quarantined and fully addressed and eradicated,” said Shabazz.
She compared the Wilmington violence study to the study the CDC performed last year following the rash of suicides among youth in Kent and Sussex Counties.
“Now we’re having the same kind of death and destruction in the form of homicides. So I think we need to call on those who know how to deal with pandemics,” she said.
If the resolution is passed by city council, it will head to the General Assembly.