Young people are pleased with this investment in our future, and call on the Senate to move swiftly to pass the bill
New York, NY — Today, March For Our Lives celebrates the passage of the Build Back Better bill in the House. There’s no doubt that this is an imperfect bill, and much remains to be done to make Americans and our young people whole after decades of utter neglect. One of the most visceral ways we’ve felt that neglect is through gun violence, which we know escalates when people and communities don’t have the resources they need to thrive, and which has exploded to record highs this year. On so many accounts, we are a nation in crisis. This bill finally rushes resources to address it and will begin to hand resources over to those who need it most.
We are particularly enthused that the bill includes $5 billion allocated for community violence intervention. This was a measure that March For Our Lives and our partners have fought hard to include, and it will finally invest in solutions that prevent violence from happening in the first place. It will provide sustained support to such programs, which for too long have suffered from haphazard spending which undermines their efficacy. When properly funded, these programs have been shown to significantly reduce violence, bringing gun violence down by as much as a third in cities like Philadelphia and New York City. That’s a fundamental shift in how we treat gun violence and will avoid the mistakes of the past, locking people and communities into endless and corrosive cycles of incarceration.
“This is a lifesaving bill. There are big holes in it where critical pieces were ultimately left out, and we’ll absolutely need to return to address them, but this is a promising start,” said Daud Mumin, Board Co-Chair of March For Our Lives and a student at Westminster College. “We’re finally getting real investment in the things that prevent gun violence in the first place, like the $5 billion in Community Violence Intervention. I can’t understate how huge that is. Things like universal pre-k and affordable childcare will make a world of difference to young people growing up in America, and begin to address many of the root causes of gun violence. We voted in record numbers for this congress and the President, it’s about time that they made good on their promises to us.”
“We’re enthused at this victory, but we’re not done. Young people were outside the Capitol today and yesterday making noise to make sure the House would keep their promise,” Alexis Confer, Executive Director of March For Our Lives said. “We’ll be back to make sure that the Senate keeps their word and passes the bill. We are mobilizing as we speak to ensure that Democratic Senators keep their promise to the American people and to the young people who will inherit the nation. They must pass the bill.”
It’s clear that this bill was a compromise solution. But we believe it still delivers a hefty downpayment on our future. This isn’t about the next year, or even the next ten years; it’s about setting a foundation for the rest of our lives. Having received a bill of good health from the Congressional Budget Office, we fully expect that the Senate will pass it on their end. We urge Senators Manchin and Sinema to heed the American people and support the bill. Millions of young people in America are watching.