The Texas elementary school where 19 children were killed Tuesday served primarily Latino students. Gun violence both nationally and in North Carolina disproportionately affects communities of color.

This year alone there have been 27 school shootings nationally, and a great number of them have happened in schools with a high rate of Black and Brown children.

Kellie Easton is the Executive Director of Action4Equity, a public policy and advocacy organization in Winston-Salem that focuses on addressing inequities that have the greatest impact on children of color. She says the coalition has been working with parents locally to address gun violence in these communities. She says the problem is in part due to a long history of exposure to violence and a lack of resources for mental health support.

"I think it's easy to you know, it's easy for us to experience, especially in real time, just due to day-to-day life, you know, individual and community violence," explains Easton. "But all of that is a result of the, you know, systemic violence. And that is the fact that we live in an oppressive system. And the system has oppressed people for years. And, as we have evolved, the oppression in many ways have evolved and here we are, you know, it's impacting those who are the most vulnerable."

Easton says she worries that more police in schools and security measures don't make children feel safe, and that more community support and mental health resources are needed. Guns are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in North Carolina. 

This story was produced by a partnership between WFDD and La Noticia. 

Eileen Rodriguez is a reporter for both WFDD and La Noticia through Report for America, where she covers COVID-19's impact in the Latino Communities.

Periodista de La Noticia y 88.5 WFDD, Eileen Rodríguez reporta el impacto de COVID-19 en la comunidad Latina en Carolina del Norte. Rodríguez es miembro del cuerpo de periodistas de Report for America 2021-2022

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