Green Party has cure for Philadelphia gun violence
By Justin Bell
PHILADELPHIA – 2021 is off to a bad start for Philadelphia. The murder rate is unnerving, and we are only three months in. The city is on its way to setting a new record that no city wants to hold. A staggering murder rate. The shootings have begun to happen throughout the day rather than at night which used to be peak crime hours. Our local officials are baffled. They purpose the same old ideas: curfews, more police, etc. The tactics they propose would seem to show a complete misunderstanding of the cause. Do they really not get it or is this system they designed working?
"It is very revealing that the Democratic and Republican officials do not look at the statistics," said Chris Robinson, a Green Party of Philadelphia member (GPOP). "There is no secret to the cause of gun violence: our history of racism. A study published last year by Dr. Jessica H. Beard, assistant professor of surgery and director of trauma research at Temple University's school of medicine, showed that gun violence in Philadelphia happens in the areas which were redlined following World War II. Because of our history of racist disinvestment in certain neighborhoods, gun violence has increased there."
Fortunately, the Green Party has political proposals that will reverse that disinvestment and contribute to a massive lessening of gun violence. The Green Party has called for reparations, a universal basic income, and single-payer health care for all. The Green Party program for a Green New Deal calls for an Economic Bill of Rights, which would employ everyone at a living wage. These measures address systemic problems that contribute to gun violence.
"The Green Party calls for an end to the violence and paints a clear road map to achieving this goal," said Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture, a member of GPOP and the Black Alliance for Peace. "Communities need these types of resources: jobs and job training; affordable, accessible health care; safe, quality public schools; accessible, culturally competent mental health services that must include anger management, trauma-informed care, etc. To stop gun violence, city officials must have the political will to support the proper funding of these types of community resources."
In order to repair these areas which have been discriminated against for more than 70 years, the Green Party holds that it's absolutely necessary to put everyone on a level playing field. One way to do that is through reparations. Evanston, Illinois, has just passed a tax on cannabis, which will benefit Black citizens. That is a great start, but unfortunately does not go far enough. Philadelphia could take a look at their framework and build on it.
Another important way is through universal basic income. This would provide communities with a sense of security. It's often hard for young black and brown people to get a job due to systemic racism. A guaranteed income could keep young adults off the street and away from illegal sources of income. This would allow them to provide for their families or take the extra time to get an education, leading them to be more appealing to an employer.
Last but not least, single-payer healthcare. How often do you hear the horror stories of Americans going broke due to medical bills? Pop in "Sicko" by Michael Moore, if you need a refresher. In America the sick get punished for being sick. Often times, being under-insured can cost just as much -- if not more -- than having no insurance. Not only are people going through diseases like cancer and COVID-19, but they are also losing their homes on top of it.
The corporate duopoly understands the link between economic injustice and violence, and yet they kowtow to lobbyists and corporate donors. They leave the vast majority of Americans to contend with a few trifling survival checks, all the while increasing police presence and enforcing stricter curfews. The Green Party is the only party that is prepared to enact economic justice through laws designed to lift people out of poverty and curb the violence overtaking our fair city.
Justin Bell is a member of the Green Party of Philadelphia City Committee.
The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party's Four Pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit www.gpofpa.org. Please follow GPPA on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
For more information:
"In Philadelphia, firearm violence incidence has been empirically tied to poverty and structural place-based economic disinvestment." Changes in Shooting Incidence in Philadelphia, PA, Between March and November 2020, JAMA Network Research Letter, February 10, 2021,
Pandemic Has Exacerbated Issues Such as Poverty, Unemployment and Structural Racism That Are Empirically Tied to Violence in Philadelphia, Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine, February 10, 2021,
Summary of the Green New Deal, Green Party of the U.S.,
Green Party of U.S. Platform, II.Social Justice, A.Civil Rights & Equal Rights, 2.Reparations for U.S. Afrodescendants,
Green Party of U.S. Platform, IV.Economic Justice and Sustainability, D.Livable Income,