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Confluence of Structural Issues Lies Behind Much of the Mayhem, UMD Scholar Says
Though they comprise only about 7% of the population, Black men fall victim to nearly 60% of daily gun homicides in the United States—but why?
Understanding and short-circuiting this cycle of violence is at the core of the research of Joseph Richardson, Joel and Kim Feller Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology, who delivers the “Beyond the Field” address for Homecoming 2022. The annual lecture goes off the gridiron and into classrooms and labs to showcase University of Maryland faculty who are applying research to solving the grand challenges of our time.
Richardson is a key contributor to the 120 Initiative, an effort led by University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines and fellow presidents from Washington, D.C.-area universities and colleges to gather experts from their institutions to advance promising, actionable solutions to reduce gun violence in the United States.
His work integrates behavioral and social science, medicine, public health, social work, law, computer science and the digital humanities; Richardson in particular focuses on gathering data on young Black men who return repeatedly to local hospitals with wounds from their second, third or more violent incident.
“There are so many upstream issues that lead to gun violence, whether it’s the concentration of poverty, poor housing, underresourced schools, hyperpolicing in communities of color,” he says in the address. “I think people believe someone grabs a gun, they’re angry, they go out and shoot someone. But actually that’s not the way gun violence plays out. Gun violence is a result of all the other conditions that lead up to interpersonal violence.”
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