Mercy Health, other organizations host discussion on gun violence

A group of Cincinnati organizations including Mercy Health Cincinnati will host a community discussion on gun violence on Feb. 28 at Paul Brown Stadium.

Ready, Aim, Talk — presented by the Unspoken Words Alliance — takes place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

As Cincinnati enjoyed the limelight created by the Super Bowl, a longtime local reporter shared on a national stage that gun violence is a serious issue here.

“This essay is for the more than 300 million puzzled Americans who, thanks to our resident professional football enterprise, may have noticed February has filled with the word “Cincinnati.” What is this place?” wrote former Enquirer reporter Ann Saker in USA Today. “Gorgeous hills cannot hide Cincinnati’s manifold flaws, which worsened through the pandemic. The city owns world-class health care, but no one knows what that system can deliver once the new coronavirus crisis ebbs and caregivers crawl out from under the rubble. Cincinnati’s children have been killing each other with guns in record numbers. Too many of them go to sleep hungry and cut off from schooling.”

Saker’s comments put a spotlight on the need for the Ready, Aim, Talk program.

In addition to Mercy Health, the program is sponsored by the Fatherhood Collaborative of Hamilton County and Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

The event will feature:

  • A panel discussion with men who have experienced gun violence;
  • A panel discussion with Community Health Workers who see the impact of gun violence;
  • “A Black Father’s Plea,” a one-act play, about gun violence;
  • An original song about gun violence followed by a discussion of the lyrics;
  • Data from community resident and Community Health Worker surveys; and
  • A presentation on gun violence and the criminal justice system.

The idea for Ready, Aim, Talk came from a conversation Kia Davis, a community health worker with Mercy Health’s Perinatal Outreach Program, started with Calvin Williams, fatherhood coordinator at Hamilton County Jobs & Family Services.

Calvin Williams is fatherhood coordinator at Hamilton County Jobs & Family Services.

Davis expressed concern about the effects of gun violence on the families in communities served by community health workers. Davis and other health workers see firsthand the stress that gun violence and worries about their children’s safety places on mothers. The health workers worry for their safety, too, so Davis asked if the Fatherhood Collaborative could facilitate an event with young men from the community to have a candid conversation around gun violence.

RSVPs by Feb. 23 to calvin.williams@jfs.ohio.gov are required. For more information on Ready, Aim, Talk, please visit hcjfs.org/ready-aim-talk/.

Mercy Health Cincinnati is part of Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMHealth.org), one of the top 20 health systems in the United States and one of the largest employers in Ohio.


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