Communities Aim To Serve More People At Highest Risk For Impact From Gun Violence

Representatives from organizations in Austin, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park and Little Village joined a convening at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago as part of Scaling Community Violence Intervention for a Safer Chicago (SC2).
PHOTO PROVIDED BY METROPOLITAN PEACE INITIATIVES.
Representatives from organizations in Austin, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park and Little Village joined a convening at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago as part of Scaling Community Violence Intervention for a Safer Chicago (SC2). PHOTO PROVIDED BY METROPOLITAN PEACE INITIATIVES.

Communities Aim To Serve More People At Highest Risk For Impact From Gun Violence

By Tia Carol Jones

Communities who have been working violence intervention outlined their plans to increase the number of people they serve who are at the highest risk of shooting or being shot. Representatives from organizations in Austin, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park and Little Village joined a convening at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago as part of Scaling Community Violence Intervention for a Safer Chicago (SC2).

“Our goal is that CVI (community violence intervention) becomes a permanent feature of Chicago’s overall public safety strategy, along with traditional policing and community investments that address the root causes of gun violence,” Jorge Matos, Director of Implementation for SC2, said during the convening.

The SC2 was first announced in February of this year. The plan to scale includes serving between 50%-75% of people at the highest risk of shooting or being shot during the next decade. According to Institute For Nonviolence Chicago, since 2018, funding of violence reduction efforts has increased significantly, with the public sector accounting for nearly 70% of all funding. According to a press release, the new state budget includes more than $170 million to support community violence intervention programs in the state, city and county budgets include more than $46 million to support community violence intervention programs.

Matos said that the individuals SC2 seeks to serve are filled with unlimited promise and potential and they need support. He added that in order for community violence intervention programs to be successful, it must be a community-led approach, with the community developing the plans and driving the work. He said it can only succeed with a buy-in from the community.

The Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, which serves Austin, Alliance of Local Service Organizations, which serves Humboldt Park, Breakthrough, which serves Garfield Park and New Life Centers, which serves Little Village, are building community partnerships that collectively provide services which include outreach, trauma treatment, education and job training.

“This work is hard, difficult and our work with SC2 initiative creates space for communities to build and design their own way, leveraging their experience and expertise in community, that they know best,” Matos said.

The Institute for Nonviolence Chicago CEO Teny Gross said that Chicago is building real infrastructure, with more than 2,000 people doing community violence intervention work. He said it goes beyond interrupting violence and moves toward addressing the root causes of violence with education and workforce development.

Yolanda Fields, Executive Director of Breakthrough, said that violence in all forms poses a significant threat to the wellbeing of all Chicagoans in all communities. Using proactive, data-informed measures aimed at reducing violences and saving lives, Breakthrough and the other organizations are reaffirming their commitment to the communities.

“We believe that every individual deserves to live in a safe environment, free from the fear of and the impact of violence. Through collaborative efforts with law enforcement, community organizations and local residents, we have been actively implementing strategies to address the root causes of violence and we are promoting peaceful resolutions,” Fields said. She added that scaling those efforts will provide opportunities for comprehensive planning for feasible strategies and sufficient resources for implementation.

Breakthrough’s goal is to provide resources that will heal, restore and provide access to individual economic stability. Fields believes that with respect and trust, the community will be able to create an atmosphere where conflict is resolved peacefully and everyone feels valued and secure.

For more information about the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, visit www.nonviolencechicago.org.

Latest Stories






Latest Podcast

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Expert Tyronne Studemire