(CNSNews.com) – Robert Woodson, founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, said Monday that gun violence has claimed as many lives in six months as the number of people killed on 9/11 and that the priority for the black community is not racism.
“Black Americans right now, young people, we lose 3,000 every six months. We have a 9/11 every six months. Over 4,000 died in 40 years of lynching. We lose more than that in one year. So the priorities that we have are not racism,” Woodson said at the Republican National Committee luncheon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
According to Slate magazine, 7,589 people were killed from gun violence since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. In May, Slate’s gun deaths project estimated the total number killed from gun violence in the U.S. less than six months after Sandy Hook at 4,499.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
According to the Tuskegee Institute, 4,730 people were lynched in the U.S. between 1882 and 1951 – 3,437 of them black and 1,293 white.
Woodson has been a social activist since the 1960s. As a young civil rights activist, he developed and coordinated national and local community development programs, according to his group’s website.
He also directed the National Urban League’s Administration of Justice division in the 1970s, and later served as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Woodson challenged black leaders to find the solution to young people dropping out of school and ending up jail by looking at the households where children are successful.
“The answers will come by going into the communities suffering the problem and finding out – not from the 70 percent of the households that are raising children that are dropping out of school, in jail, but what is happening in the 30 percent of the households of people who are not dropping out of school and jail,” he said.
Woodson pointed to the example of a homeless 19-year-old young woman who enrolled at Tuskegee University and was accepted to five colleges.
“She’s been sleeping on buses, studying, going to school because she’s homeless, and she was admitted from a shelter,” Woodson said.
“We need to go into our communities and put a microphone in front of young people like this who are not drugging and dropping out of school, and households that are successful in the midst of despair,” he said.
“And we should invest time and resources to build up these communities, because they individually are antibodies and collectively they represent a new immune system,” Woodson added.