Safety & Justice Syllabus: Gun Violence and the Criminalization of Poverty

We started a new year and already we are hearing about the devastating impacts of gun violence facing our communities. From Jazmine Barnes to Kevin Fret, two high profile recent incidents of gun violence, we continue to grieve the lost of too many young people from our communities who aren’t provided the opportunity to realize their dreams of living healthy and prosperous lives. At Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, we are building a grassroots movement to see young people with a future of living in resilient and thriving communities and long, healthy lives.

The criminalization of poverty has increased significantly with poor and low-income people of color communities, facing a greater risk of being targeted, profiled, fined, arrested, harassed, violated and incarcerated for minor offenses than other Americans. A broken taillight, an unpaid parking ticket, a minor drug offense, sitting on a sidewalk, or sleeping on a park can all result in jail time. The school-to-prison pipeline is a significant factor in removing opportunities for self-fulfillment, education and employment, often creating and perpetuating poverty.

To kick off the new year, we compiled a safety and justice syllabus on gun violence and the criminalization of poverty as a resource for our community to understand the harmful impacts of systemic violence facing communities of color. We have a real opportunity in 2019 to change how the public and our leaders view the issue of gun violence and economic injustice. Please use this syllabus to learn more about the issue and what you can do to get involved and take action in your communities.


‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Encourage Dangerous Vigilantism by Ebony Slaughter-Johnson

Schools Need Resources, Not ‘ School Resource Officers’ by Lidwina Bell

Trump’s War on the Poor Has Just Begun by Karen Dolan and Rev. William Barber

To End Mass Incarceration, We Must Rethink How We Respond to Violence by Sophie Bandarkar

We Need To Talk About Black Lives and Gun Violence After the Florida Shooting by Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

The Racist Origin of the Second Amendment and the Rise of Black Gun Ownership by Zenobia Jeffries

Why Some Members of the Far Left Advocate Against Gun Control by Elizabeth King

The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty by Karen Dolan

Parkland’s black students say they’re being forgotten in the gun control debate by P.R. Lockhart

Parkland is sparking a difficult conversation about race, trauma, and public support by P.R. Lockhart

Living While Black and the criminalization of blackness by P.R. Lockhart

The Who, What, And Why Of Gun Violence Prevention by Catherine Tang

The Gun Control Fight Is a Fight For Equality by Sarah Jaffe

Gun Control Has Always Been Racist - That Doesn’t Mean We Shouldn’t Support the Parkland Students Movement by Natasha Lennard

The Secret History of Guns by Adam Winkler

Stop the War on Baltimore by Dante Barry

America’s Youth Under Fire by By Chelsea Parsons, Maggie Thompson, Eugenio Weigend Vargas, and Giovanni Rocco 

Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not. by Matthew Desmond

The Problems with Stop and Frisk

The Stop-and-Frisk Challenge by Matthew McKnight

There’s a lot of chatter about ‘stop and frisk.’ Here are the facts. by Janell Ross