Clark Atlanta University hosted ‘The Brother to Brother Summit: A Conversation with the Voices on the Ground' Wednesday, May 17. Photo by Menra Mapfumo/The Atlanta Voice

Clark Atlanta University hosted ‘The Brother to Brother Summit: A Conversation with the Voices on the Ground’ Wednesday, May 17.

The event was presented by 100 Black Men of America, INC. and the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). 

The summit featured a panel discussion to address possible changes to gun law legislation and mental health challenges affecting young Black men. Student Vice President of the Men of Clark Atlanta University Darien Richards, Interfaith Chair Jamal Bryant, Former Chief of Police of Atlanta and the First Vice President of NOBLE Rodney Bryant, Anti-Gun Violence Committee Chair Joshua Byrd, and Eduprenuer Alfred “Shivy” Brooks were the panel guests. The National Public Policy Committee Chair Dr. Wes Bellamy was the panel moderator. 

Black male high school students from B.E.S.T. Academy and Frederick Douglass High School were in attendance.

Panelists were asked “What do you believe to be the root cause of gun violence within black and brown communities and what are some solutions?” 

Interfaith Chair Jamal Bryant expressed, “Gun violence is America’s love language…this is not the fruit of broken families, but a broken country. We have had, this year, 235 mass shootings and not one piece of legislation being offered…I think it is not as much a Black American problem as much as it is an American problem and America has to take full accountability responsibility for it.”

Former Chief of Police of Atlanta Rodney Bryant responded, “I do not think there is one solution to this problem. The reality is African Americans are disproportionately affected by gun violence regardless of who the perpetrator may be. It is an American problem. We have to address this as a nation as a whole. What we see everyday is we are three times as likely to be victimized by gun violence as any other race and that is a problem. That is something that needs to be addressed even more significantly and where I think this evolved from is that our culture has been traumatized so much. And guns becoming a common language in our community, that has to be addressed through education, through parenting, and through legislation.”  

Byrd added, “…What is not being done and fortunately what we have been able to do particularly at B.E.S.T. academy is offer youth conflict resolution training… sensible legislation will also be great, but it is our perspective that we should treat violence and gun violence in the same way we treat car accidents with seatbelts. The same way we treated cigarette smoking and the same way we addressed Covid-19. When people are dying it is a public health issue.” 

Panelists were also asked, “What are some things you think we could do to address [gun laws]?

Brooks proposed, “…responsibility to secure firearms in homes and in vehicles. A fine if [the gun] is stolen in the vehicle and it was not stolen in a locked compartment…it is going to be very hard to ban assault weapons…I would propose we have a limit on magazine capacity to only ten and we tax the ammunition 500 or 700 percent. You make it so unaffordable that it is not the go to.