Building Illuminated for Gun Violence Awareness

By Miranda Reale

KINGSTON – Ulster County participated in the “Light the Landmarks” campaign, a partnership with organizations around the state working to bring awareness to the tragic impacts of gun violence across New York and signifies the commencement of Gun Violence Awareness Month. Though many need not to be clued into recent mass violence terrorizing the country, in response to the shootings in Buffalo, New York, then Uvalde, Texas, and a flurry of other lesser known attacks like last week’s shooting at a medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the Ulster County Office Building was illuminated orange last weekend to recognize the lives lost.

“Last month, we promised that our flags would remain at half staff until all the victims of the racist shooting in Buffalo were laid to rest. Then, before we could even raise them, just ten days later, another act of gun violence took the precious lives of elementary students and their teachers,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. “I am proud that we will be lighting our County Office Building orange this weekend to raise awareness about this important issue, and I will do my part as County Executive to ensure that we work for real gun reform and for the protection of all our residents in Ulster County.”

Governor Kathy Hochul declared June as Gun Violence Awareness Month in the State of New York. Ulster County is one of the first counties to participate in Gun Violence Awareness Month. Alongside other counties and cities across New York State including Albany, Buffalo, and Poughkeepsie, the “Light the Landmarks” campaign presented a somber opportunity to recognize the severity of the current climate while promoting conversation and action going forward.

In April 2022, both the CDC and the University of Michigan’s Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention declared guns as the leading cause of death among youth and teens. While most things slowed down or stopped altogether since the Covid-19 pandemic, gun violence, according to the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, had an inverse response. “Since January 2021, gun violence is up 48% in New York City, 22% in Albany, 88% in Buffalo, and 95% in Rochester,” the report said.

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