It takes a village

 

I was a suburban housewife with 3 school aged children in 1999 when I first started working in gun violence prevention. As our movement grew it always baffled me that the majority of the mothers getting involved were white. I knew that gun violence disproportionately affected black and brown communities but a lot of those moms didn’t want to join our movement.

In 2012 when the massacre at Sandy Hook happened and a new generation of moms joined the movement I was so hopeful that things would be different this time but the gap between urban and suburban mom emerged again. This time with advice from my mentor I created a diversity director position (that was accepted but downgraded to coordinator) and began to try to bridge the gap. And I was successful but when that group was swallowed up by a bigger group my position was eliminated and once again the gap has gotten wider.

In the last few months there has been an outcry from mothers in New York, Chicago, Nashville and here in Columbus that the current existing groups are doing nothing to prevent gun violence in communities of color. They feel that the stories of mass shooting victims get attention but the everyday violence that has taken their children is ignored. That is not entirely true however perception becomes reality.

I began to wonder what if I with my 17 years of experience started a group to expressly address the gun violence that happens in communities of color. What would that look like? What would I need to make that happen?

Village Work LLC was created to fill this gap. Communities will be given tool kits and support to work to reduce and eliminate gun violence in our communities. The village will work with all groups that seek to eliminate gun violence in this country but it will be specific to working on the causes that plague communities of color.  All stakeholders will be brought to the table to make communities safer I will be a village approach.

Mission Statement

The mission of Village Work LLC is to create villages that will advocate for policies and programming that will reduce gun violence in our cities. Further it will coordinate the supporting programs that are preventative and seek to expand and make more available and accessible to the children most in need.

Vision Statement

Since it takes a village to raise a child, then the village must work to reduce gun violence.

Perception vs. Reality

Violence in communities of color are often deemed “street violence” vs. “terrorism”; this takes the story off the National News. We often blame the victims and go on as if nothing has happened.

A couple weeks ago there was a shooting at a party where black teens were shot but it did not get nearly the coverage that the Pulse nightclub got. It was a non story very quickly. But it wasn’t to that community and the families involved.

Per a report from the Children’s Defense Fund dated March 2012, from 1979 to 2012, 44,038 African –American children and teens were killed by guns. This is 13 times higher than the number of lynchings in the 82 years from 1882 to 1968. Homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American males age 15-19 per the Centers for Disease Control.. All of these children and teens have families who are forever changed by their loss.

Per an opinion piece written by Cornell Belcher in CNN on May 9, 2013, black people voted in higher rates in 2012 for the first time ever. His information came from a report from the U.S. Census bureau. Communities of color need to come together and work to get legislation passed and people elected who will do the work to stop the bloodshed.

Congress continues to ignore the will of 90% of the people when it comes to expanding background checks. Every time gun violence is in the news they offer “thoughts and prayers” their inaction costs more lives daily.

But legislation is not the only answer. We also need to get the services to the community that will discourage the violence that is far too prevalent.

Gun violence is a public health threat. It costs our country approximately $100 billion per year. Each crime related gunshot wound costs about $1 million. This factor alone is devastating to our communities. Gun violence robs our communities of resources, people, businesses etc.

Village Work LLC will work on the following objectives

1) Assisting the many other groups and organizations that are working on getting Universal Background Checks passed in congress.
2) Our children are being exposed to traumatic events in our communities. We will work with the local school systems to provide PTSD screening and treatment.
3)We will work with local clergy, law enforcement and community leaders to set up effective block watches.
4) We will provide resource guides and support for survivors and victims of gun violence.

 

Gun violence has many causes but I believe that we can work together and greatly reduce its impact in our communities.

We are looking for people and groups interested in investing in the reduction of gun violence.  We are a 501c4 so your donation is not tax deductible however, your dollars will be spent working directly impact gun violence in urban communities.

Please follow us on:

Twitter            @villageworkllc

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/villagework.llc/

Website           villageworkllc.org

 

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