NEW YORK, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Malik Evans joined fellow mayors from across the state Tuesday for what was dubbed as the first-of-its-kind forum of mayors on gun violence in New York. The event, hosted by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, will kick off Gun Violence Awareness Month, which formally begins Wednesday.

Those in attendance included Evans, Brown, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawn Patterson-Howard, and Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas. The mayors were also joined by Rev. Paul Thomas, Pastor of Buffalo AME Church and anti-gun violence advocates K. Bain.

Officials say Gun Violence Awareness Month is a month-long campaign in New York to raise awareness of gun violence’s impact on communities statewide.

“We can’t just pray. We need to do something,” Mayor Evans said. “In 2020, more Americans died from gun-related injuries than in any other year; 45,222 dead according to the CDC, in one year. I hope that wakes folks up in Washington.

“This is an opportunity for us to understand the pain that gun violence has brought on our communities,” Brown said. “Voice the stories of victims and survivors and find solutions to this dark reality. This is a national crisis: 65 deaths in less than three weeks. No matter the motivation of the person behind the gun, this is the time we are to stand up and say ‘no more.'”

“This is something we are all dealing with,” said Adams. “It is time to have a unified fight against guns. Gun violence is a chronic sickness.

“My first day as mayor, we had a 14-year-old murdered,” Evans said. “Our young people are experiencing this trauma. It’s hard for me to explain to my own kids what’s happening in our nation, but we will continue to do the work in Rochester. We won’t let up.”

“We are watching our children kill our children,” Adams said.