We must define Violence as a Public Health Issue. Looking at “two sides of the pistol,” both families are destroyed. Shootings cost the U.S. $174 Billion in 2010. It is Time to give Grassroots Organizations on the Frontline a minimum of 1% of the funds spent to address the issues that lead to gun violence.
NEW YORK (January 13, 2013)— New York City has averaged more than 500 homicides – almost 300 of them due to a shooting – each for the last 10 years. While homicides overall are low compared to other cities and past history, the fact remains that each year there are over 300 children and adults whose lives are ended in this city by a bullet, and over a thousand more New York City residents shot and wounded each year. President Obama convened a task force to give recommendations to resolving Gun Violence in America after the Mass Killings at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut. We say there is one America and working together we can holistically resolve the issue of Violence. On both sides of the Pistol, families and communities are being destroyed.
- Define Violence as A Public Health Issue
- Support grassroots organizations by giving them the tools to holistically deal with both sides of the pistol.
a. LIFE Camp’s I Love My LIFE Violence Intervention & Prevention (VIP) Pilot
The I Love My LIFE (VIP) Pilot program is a three‐year project targeting 13 to 25-year-old South Jamaica, Queens at/high- risk teens, young adults, families. The project is designed to fundamentally change how interpersonal violence is experienced, perceived and managed, to assist in eradicating the reasons for gun violence.
The underlying approach will have as its foundation two components. The first component is the I Love My LIFE VIP Team, an enacted, collaborative network of individuals and entities committed to reducing Interpersonal Violence (IPV). The second component is the application of the Emergency Management Model of the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency, comprising the phases of Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.
- Emergency Management Approach
- Prevention/Mitigation – Proactive steps taken to help avoid all incidents of IPV that can be avoided and reduce the potential or extent of injury from any single incident, for example “Peace is a LIFE Style” campaigns and I Love My LIFE VIP Team Services
- Preparedness – developing skills within the community that empowers individuals to recognize the warning signs of impending danger of IPV and preparing themselves to effectively respond to that knowledge, e.g., what to do when a parent discovers their child if being bullied.
- Response – establishing mechanisms that will approach all known instances of IPV as emergency situations that warrant and elicit a structured emergency response while seeking to reduce the likelihood of incident-related injury
- Recovery – assistance is helping direct and indirect victims and survivors of IPV recover for the trauma they have experienced – reducing the likelihood of long-term physical and mental health impacts and the potential for retaliation
- Controlling the messages regarding peaceful lifestyle choices to which the community, especially the youth, are constantly and continuously exposed
- I Love My LIFE VIP Team
- This VIP team is a collaboration of community and faith-based organizations, public and private sector and community stakeholders with roots in New York City neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs, who are dedicated to creating safe environments for NYC youth and community members.
- The VIP team was developed based on LIFE Camp’s mission to provide a strengths-based collaborative approach to youth and community development, galvanizing resources from a vast network of partners who will intensify their existing direct services to continue serving youth in their own programs, while contributing to the overall efforts of the I Love My LIFE VIP Team collaboration.
- Through our collective, multi-agency and multi-disciplinary approach, we tap into the unique needs and characteristics of youth in each community, using non-traditional methods to help them grow successfully. Many of our partner organizations have credibility in these community’s streets and among our neighbors. These contacts enrich our collective ability to effectively reach these youth and stop the spread of violence.
- Formative evaluation – integrating a Continuous Quality Improvement approach, using a participatory, empowerment evaluation strategy that will establish a feedback loop to allow for the project to learn from experience and make appropriate adjustments to activities toward assuring maximum effectiveness
- Resource acquisition and development – assure that the community is well-served and that the emergency nature of the problem is addressed by building in a continuous development function so that lack of resources do not result in the cessation of critical project activities
This year during Peace Week we must make history here in New York City by re-evaluating and recommitting to resolving violence as we bring residents and members of the NYC community together to promote/create Peace. “There is only one America and our children and their families’ lives are just as valuable as any child/family” states Erica Ford. “No matter where you live, YOU have the ability to Make Peace A LiFeStyle, become a Peace Ambassador and take part in Peace Week January 15th -22nd 2013. You can be part of making history.”
Erica Ford founded LIFE Camp, Inc in 2002 to teach violence prevention in schools, following the tragic murders of two community children. The organization has since expanded its role to also generate empowerment opportunities for youth and their parents who are impacted by violence, and who are educationally, economically and socially disadvantaged.
I Love My LIFE VIP Team includes: Russell Simmons & Rush Communications, Deepak Chopra, Eddie Stern & Ashtanga Yoga, Bartendaz / GIANT Thinking, Gemansium LLC, Not Another Child, Man Up, Inc., Peace Keepers, STRONG, CONNECT, Gloria Cruz, Maccabee Fit, Stay Strong Foundation, Urban Word, Black Hand Ent., Youth Step, Street Corner Resources, Fan Family Inc., to name a few.