September 14, 2021
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces $23.7 Million in Grant Awards to End the Gun Violence Epidemic

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces $23.7 Million in Grant Awards to End the Gun Violence Epidemic

Funding Supports Gun Violence Prevention Efforts Including Job Training and Placement, Community Activities, and Expansion of Gun Violence Intervention Programs

Governor Hochul: "Everybody deserves to live on a street that's safe. It breaks my heart as a mom and as a human being to know that Black children are ten times more likely to lose their lives to gun violence than a white child. How does that happen? Every child matters. Every life has dignity, and every life should continue on. It's not the fault of these families or these individuals. We need to give them hope, get them out of these desperate situations and give them an alternative."

At the GodSquad 11th Anniversary Evening Celebration tonight, Governor Kathy Hochul announced funding for several gun violence prevention efforts, which include job training, community activities, and intervener staffing in communities seeing the highest concentration of gun violence.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Good evening, everyone, I am so happy to be here. I've been following the GodSquad from the very beginning. First of all, as a child I used to watch a show called The Mod Squad, so I figure anyone who's a part of The Mod Squad, The GodSquad, they're probably cool people and you want to hang out with them.

But I've had a chance to see their work in action and I want to thank Pastor Monrosefor the introduction and leadership. I've worked closely with Bishop Findlayter. Reverend Cockfield Sr. and Jr. Sr., congratulations on your recognition. And also, the many elected officials who are here tonight. I know Council Member Mathieu Eugene. We've done a lot together. If Farah Louis is here, I want to recognize her. Mercedes Narcisse is here, who's going to be the new Council Member.

Here's what I want to say. I know that there's so much work that's being done on the ground. It's people like you who show up in a time of crisis, when families are at their height of pain. When they've lost a loved one or someone is lying on the street after being a victim of gun violence. I know the passion that all of you members of the clergy bring to what you do every day. It makes a difference. People hope. It gives them the sense that they're going to be okay. I want to honor the work that you've done for the last eleven years. It is extraordinary. We need GodSquads in every corner of the state because you are tending to the people when they need the presence of God the most. I thank you for that.

We partnered together with government and in government I know that I also have a responsibility. Part of that is to make sure you have the resources to do what you do every single day. And other violence interrupters who are out there, people who perhaps have seen the inside of the criminal justice system who've come back out and said no more, I want to stop the next generation from falling through the cracks. That's what this partnership is all about.

And I'm proud to say that as of today we've allocated nearly $2 million for these programs in Brooklyn alone. Part of a statewide initiative, $157 million. Where is this money going to go? We're going to create more jobs for young people. Give them an opportunity, let them know their family does not have to be the gang. Their family are people in a new place of work. People who will take care of them, people who will teach them new skills so they can have a job and their own families and live the lives they were meant to live from the very beginning.

Also, programs from after schools and programs for retraining young people who've been in and out of the prison system. And when they come out someone'll say to them, yes you paid your debt to society. Welcome back, here's a job. I want to be that focused on giving people a whole new lease on life and at the same time protecting our streets, keeping them safe every single day. Everybody deserves to live on a street that's safe. It breaks my heart as a mom and as a human being to know that Black children are ten times more likely to lose their lives to gun violence than a white child. How does that happen? Every child matters. Every life has dignity, and every life should continue on. It's not the fault of these families or these individuals. We need to give them hope, get them out of these desperate situations and give them an alternative.

I thank God every day for the GodSquad. Thank you so much. I'm grateful. And all the honorees that we're recognizing here today. I'll continue to work with you. Our work is not finished, but at least it's begun. It's begun and I'm going to make sure you have the resources to do what you need to do. I will be there with you because we need to protect our children, protect our streets, protect our families, and protect all New Yorkers.

Thank you very much.

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