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Overcoming Tragedies & Trauma to Reduce Gun Violence


United States—UPF-USA held a Stopping the Violence webinar, “Overcoming Tragedies & Trauma to Reduce Gun Violence” on January 4, 2023, another in its innovative Stopping the Gun Violence series. This series highlights urban activists dedicated to reducing the deadly toll of gang wars, rage shootings, drug homicides drive-by killings and random, unexplainable violence that has come to characterize the urban landscape.


The speaker, Dr. Tyreese R. McAllister, is the owner and chief clinical officer at Clinical & Forensic Associates, a mental health counseling service in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She began by recounting the death of her 18-year-old daughter, Ayana, a college freshman, who was accidentally shot in a drive-by shooting in Washington, DC in March 2017. Dr. McAllister’s testimony was one of the most moving and heartbreaking accounts of the devastation of senseless violence we have heard.


She said, “Gun violence in the United States is out of order. The United States continues to witness another year of record gun violence. Gun violence is not new, and neither is the rage over gun violence, as we have all born witness to the decades of school and mass shootings, church shootings and everyday senseless gun violence.”


Dr. McAllister compares the U.S. government’s response to mass shootings unfavorably to other governments. “Both gun ownership and gun homicide rates in the United States, compared to other democracies, are outrageous. When mass shootings occured in Australia, Canada and the UK, their governments acted promptly and swiftly, tightening and improving gun laws with good results…. Here in the nation’s capital [Washington, DC], a gun is easy to get. It you look at the news in the last couple of months, we have seen an increase in 12- and 13-year-olds having access to guns.”


The Ayana J. McAllister Legacy Foundation was established in her name to raise awareness about relevant and timely issues around gun violence in vulnerable communities. The foundation sponsors meetings, workshops and working groups that bring together legislators, policymakers and practitioners to proactively address and reduce incidences of gun violence.


Dr. McAllister has over 25 years of experience, specializing in emergency mental health, helping individuals experiencing both crisis and/or traumatic events. She is a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider (CSOTP) and Certified Clinical Trauma Treatment Specialist.


By Larry Moffitt, Secretary General, UPF North America
Wednesday, January 4, 2023

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