Faith leaders launch Clergy Collective in NYC in bid to prevent gun violence

Leaders of several faiths met NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Jan. 31, 2024, to launch an anti-gun prevention initiative. PHOTO: Press Office of NYC Mayor

NEW YORK- A coalition of multifaith leaders, including those representing Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists, along with Christians and Muslims, from across the city joined New York City Mayor Eric Adams, January 31, 2024, to launch the Citywide Clergy Collective, a group of 272 faith leaders committed to preventing gun violence in New York City.

The launch took place at the administration’s annual interfaith breakfast. Using a $1.5 million grant from the New York State Department of Criminal Justice, Citywide Clergy Collective members will deliver resources, direct services, and community-building programs to all New Yorkers in all five boroughs as they respond to the needs and traumas that gun violence creates.

The programs and services will be run by local faith leaders across the city, with assistance from the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), Office of Neighborhood Safety, Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, and New York City Police Department (NYPD). Investments and services will target 18 precincts with high levels of gun violence, the press release said.

“Public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity, and it takes all of us to deliver a safe city,” Mayor Adams is quoted saying in the release. “That’s why we are bringing together a multidenominational coalition of hundreds of faith leaders with city and state resources so we can prevent gun violence before the shooting starts.”

The $1.5 million is expected to support three types of programs:  Street-Level Engagement, Victim Support Services, and Precinct Engagement.

This past summer, the NYC Gun Violence Prevention Task Force released “A Blueprint for Public Safety,” outlining a forward-thinking roadmap with upstream solutions to address gun violence throughout the five boroughs.

A group of 272 faith leaders joined NYC Mayor Eric Adams and launched the Citywide Clergy Collective committed to preventing gun violence. PHOTO: Press Office of NYC Mayor

“The increasing loss of life due to gun violence in New York City is disheartening and a call for us to do more. The safety of our communities requires the commitment of everyone who lives in it and to be a part of the solution,” said Karmacharya Vijah Ramjattan, founder and president, United Madrassi Association Inc.

Ramjattan went on to say, “New York City is a city of faith and the faithful serve as the backbone of all communities. As an interfaith and Hindu faith leader, I am encouraged by the Clergy Collective initiative, which centers clergy leadership as key stakeholders to aid in ending gun violence.”

The Hindu faith leader added, “I applaud the mayor’s Office of Faith-based and Community Partnerships team for putting forth a plan to save lives while uniting and building communities through its three core pillars of street level engagement, victim support services, and precinct engagement.”

According to Reverend James A. Lynch, rissho kosei kai, New York Buddhist Dharma Center, “Unfortunately, gun violence has reached epidemic proportions in America, and so, the Clergy Collective was born to reduce the violence in the communities we serve.”

The Buddha was clear on violence, Rev. Lynch said, quoting the ancient sage who said, ‘All living things fear being put to death. Putting oneself in the place of the other, let no one kill nor cause another to kill.’

“Indeed, it is the positive actions of the Clergy Collective, in which people of goodwill and those of religious conviction help end this modern death cult, and we, together affirmatively state, that all of humanity has been placed on this earth to fulfill the Almighty’s plan of peace on earth and goodwill to man,” Rev. Lynch said.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here