Every day, 321 people are shot in the United States. Every. Day.
Each incident leaves behind people reeling from loss, trauma, and fear. Communities of color bear an outsized and overwhelming share of this terrible burden.
Using peacebuilding approaches, these community-based initiatives address the root causes of violence and stop it before it happens.
For decades policymakers have debated how to address the scourge of gun violence, often defaulting to a militarized police response. This solution has repeatedly failed, with sometimes fatal consequences.
We need a new way forward, and a promising solution does exist—one that has been shown to make neighborhoods safer, prevent gun violence, and reduce the over-policing of Black, brown, and low-income communities: Violence interruption programs.
Using peacebuilding approaches, these community-based initiatives address the root causes of violence and stop it before it happens. These programs have been successfully piloted in several cities, including Boston, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
They rely on federal, state, and local funding. Congress can bolster this transformational work by meaningfully investing in these community violence interventions.
That’s where FCNL’s network of young adult advocates comes in. March 25-28, more than 350 young adults from across the nation are gathered in Washington, D.C., and online for our 2023 Spring Lobby Weekend. Together, they building relationships, learning to tell their stories, and honing their advocacy skills. On Tuesday, March 28, they will head to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress to invest in these lifesaving initiatives.
Lawmakers can protect lives and make our communities safer by dedicating at least $20 million in federal funding to the Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative (CVI) in the FY 2024 budget.
This work goes to the heart of the Quaker Peace Testimony. Lawmakers can protect lives and make our communities safer by dedicating at least $20 million in federal funding to the Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative (CVI) in the FY 2024 budget.
Spring Lobby Weekend advocates are weighing in with congressional offices at a critical time. Lawmakers are establishing their funding priorities for the coming fiscal year and will soon begin crafting appropriations bills to fund the government in 2024.
We cannot be satisfied with the status quo. Designating funding for community violence interventions will give these violence interruption programs a chance to build on the success they are already having in communities across the nation. In the words of FCNL’s Program Assistant for Justice Reform and Election Integrity, Michya Cooper: “When we advocate for violence interrupters, we are also advocating to change how our country responds [to the crisis of gun violence] and reimagining what safety can look like in the United States.”