Gun Violence Prevention Activist Jai Patel

Image:    Jai Patel

Image: Jai Patel

Meet gun violence prevention activist Jai Patel!

Tell us about yourself! What causes are you passionate about/involved in? How did you get started in activism work?

My name is Jai Patel and I am a 19 year old Gun Violence Prevention Activist from Jersey City, New Jersey. I currently attend Rutgers University as a Sophomore Majoring in Criminal Justice. My Gun Violence Prevention work began in February 2018 when I began planning the March For Our Lives Jersey City, a March that was attended by over 3,000 people. Since then, I have Founded the Hudson County and Rutgers Chapters of Students Demand Action, and I sit on the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board.

Image:    Jai Patel

Image: Jai Patel

How does your identity influence the work that you do?

First and Foremost, I am a product of Jersey City. Jersey City's South Side is ravaged by senseless and preventable Gun Violence every
single year, and my advocacy reflects that. I ensure that the issue of Every Day Gun Violence is reflective in my advocacy, because roughly 100 Americans die every day from Gun Violence. I got to enjoy a childhood where I wasn't scared to play outside, and it is my civic responsibility to ensure that playing without fear is something all children can experience.

Why is it important for more diverse voices in the gun violence prevention movement to be amplified?

The burden of gun homicide falls heaviest on communities already facing structural disadvantages. Within cities, gun homicides are most
prevalent in racially segregated neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and low educational attainment. Black males are 16X more likely than white males to be shot and injured in assaults involving guns. Gun Violence is an issue that disproportionately affects people of color, so it is absolutely important for diverse voices to speak out. Being closest to the problem of gun violence makes one closest to the solution to ending gun violence.


How can we mobilize more young people to create change in their communities and beyond?

Image:    Jai Patel

Image: Jai Patel

Young Men and Women in American need to understand that the problem of Gun Violence is now our issue. The NRA was left unchecked for
years, and they slowly bought up Congress. Now, Americans suffer the consequences, especially America's young people. We are the ones going through lockdown drills and we are the ones who leading the charge against the NRA. It is time to step up and use the power we possess at
our fingerprints for the betterment of the Country.


As a magazine, our mission is to "dare to defy" boundaries, barriers, and expectations. How have you been "defiant" in your own work?

My work has made me defiant by trade. Myself and my peers are tasked with meeting with Legislators and Advocates who are deep in the NRA's pocket, and ensuring we stay true to our facts and our messaging. Defying the NRA is not easy, but I will not stop until we end gun violence in America.

Maheen IqbalComment