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Senior editor of gun violence project aims to educate

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Senior editor of gun violence project aims to educate

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Callia Yuan, Staff writer

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“Our subject is very heavy. This is our issue because lives are stake; when we can, we try to find solution stories or stories that give hope,” said Akoto Ofori-Atta, senior editor of The Trace.

The Trace is a non-profit newsroom, established in 2015 by New York’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg, dedicated to covering gun violence in America. As their website states, “We believe that our country’s epidemic rates of firearm-related violence are coupled with a second problem: a shortage of information about the issue at large.”

Rather than taking a political stance or supporting specific gun policies, The Trace simply aims to aid the public and reduce gun violence by providing accurate and comprehensive information on gun violence.

“An emboldened NRA has operated largely in secrecy, while actively promoting misinformation…the group has aggressively expanded the presence of firearms in public spaces and institutions and used conspiracy theories about gun confiscation to oppose tighter restrictions. The arrival of an unprecedentedly friendly White House administration has increased the NRA’s policy influence, and intensified its attacks on the press,” the website states.

In 2015, Ofori-Atta left her fellowship at Stanford in order to pursue something more challenging. After losing two friends in college as a result of gun violence, Ofori-Atta pushed aside the music and movies she originally covered, and took a complete turn into gun violence.

“Ninety-one percent of children shot in high-income countries are shot in the United States,” said Ofori-Atta. “This is a public health crisis which results in lost lives.”

Although her work is often misread and people make assumptions about her line of work,  she says that getting distracted by those things will only deter them from their mission.

“Our only position is that gun violence is bad and too many people lose their lives from it. We don’t advocate for any union or laws, because we are not an advocacy group. We are trying to do journalism about this issue … We write about measures that work, and things that don’t work.”

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