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Legislator Tyrae Woodson-Samuels on Monday’s Shooting At MVHS

Our young people deserve a safe and secure place to learn, a school campus where they can feel comfortable every single day.

Tyrae Woodson-Samuels at the Westchester Library Systems speaking up for Mount Vernon Public Library to keep its Central Library of Westchester status, March 29, 2017 [Black Westchester]
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Black Westchester reported on the shooting outside of Mount Vernon High School, Monday afternoon just before dismissal. This recent incident has many Mount Vernonites discussing the dangers of the senseless gun violence plaguing the city. One in particular, County Legislator Tyrae Woodson-Samuels – a product of Mount Vernon public schools – is addressing the incident, what we can do to rid the city of the plethora of illegal guns on the street and end the unnecessary gun violence.

The shooting incident at Mount Vernon High School yesterday was an unfortunate reminder that there are simply too many guns on the streets of our community. Like so many of my neighbors in Mount Vernon, I am thankful no one was injured. And I thank the Mount Vernon Police Department for its quick and professional response, as well as the Mount Vernon School District for implementing added safety measures.

However, we must be clear in the challenges we face. The first is far too many guns – many of them illegal – in our community. This is a major problem for our law enforcement partners, and although New York State has strict gun safety laws, too many other states do not. We need to take action at the Federal level.

But the second challenge is clearly around resources for cities like Mount Vernon. The financial structure places more state funding with the school district than with the city, but not enough to provide more school resource officers on a regular basis. Our police department is short staffed, but clearly must respond to incidents like this one with added manpower. It’s a zero-sum game and our children, their parents, and our whole community gets caught in the squeeze. I am working with my colleagues in Westchester County government to see what additional resources may be available to respond to the gun violence crisis. I call on my colleagues at the State and Federal levels to do the same. And we will work with the Mount Vernon School District to find a better long-term solution, one that stresses prevention and safety on a daily basis, rather than responding after each incident. Our young people deserve a safe and secure place to learn, a school campus where they can feel comfortable every single day.

Legislator Woodson-Samuel is a longtime community activist committed to representing underserved communities of color and improving Mount Vernon, Woodson-Samuels has been a board member of the Shamoya McKenzie Foundation, Fleetwood Neighborhood Association, and the Community Service Associates Soup Kitchen. He is a legislative committee member of the Westchester Black Democrats and serves as Caucus of Color chair for the Westchester Young Democrats, in addition to leadership roles with the local NAACP and as a mentor in President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, working with dozens of young men in the city of Mount Vernon.

AJ Woodson
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About AJ Woodson (2428 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.
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