Press Release

Big Cities Health Coalition Partners with Giffords, Health Organizations to Install Gun Violence Memorial

October 2021


Washington, DC — The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) is partnering with Giffords and other health organizations to install a Gun Violence Memorial in New York City in commemoration of the thousands of lives lost to gun violence. The memorial is located in Battery Park until October 8th and will feature 1,050 vases—one for each resident of New York State who died from gun violence last year.  

In addition to the memorial, Giffords is hosting a panel discussion on public health approaches to gun violence prevention. Dr. Torian Easterling, the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a BCHC member, will serve as a featured speaker. The panel can be viewed live today at 6 p.m. ET on the BCHC Facebook page.  

“Gun violence is an urgent public health crisis,” said Chrissie Juliano, Executive Director of the Big Cities Health Coalition. “We are honored to partner with Giffords and hope that this memorial not only draws attention to gun violence but also compels lawmakers to act.”    

“Violence doesn’t just cause individual harm, it affects our communities too,” said First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer Dr. Torian Easterling. “The structural factors – such as racism, residential segregation and other social inequities — that lead to violence are the same issues that threaten New Yorkers’ physical and mental health. Taking a public health approach to violence means addressing these social dynamics, which is an essential part of promoting health and safety.”

In 2020, gun violence killed 19,380 Americans, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. To date, 2021 is on pace to be one of the deadliest years of gun violence on record.  

“Gun violence — like so many other public health challenges — is preventable,” Juliano continued. “By investing in our communities, implementing social and racial justice policies, and limiting access to firearms, we can create safer, healthier communities.” 

For more information about the public health approach to violence prevention, visit  

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About the Big Cities Health Coalition  

The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact nearly 62 million people, or one in five Americans. For more information, visit