22 May Strengthening Communities, Promoting Peace
Gun violence and gun control has become a highly politicized topic of discussion in America. In the past few years, as we lived through the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in news coverage about school shootings, protests and demonstrations, police brutality and deadly crimes. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans (48%) see gun violence as a major problem in the country.
In our April 2022 episode of CHRIS 180’s Lunchtime Live Series, four of the organization’s trauma-informed experts discussed the work they do to prevent crime and heal trauma in communities impacted by gun violence. The panel included Program Manager Janikqua Cutno, NPU-V Community Manager Aaron Johnson, Alfred Garner, MSW, Director of Zone 3 Community Initiatives and Violence Interrupter Cheetara Alexander.
Program Initiatives Work to Heal Communities
Cure Violence Atlanta was launched in 2020 in Neighborhood Planning Unit-V (NPU-V) Atlanta neighborhoods: Peoplestown, Summerhill, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh, Adair Park and Capitol Gateway. Cure Violence Atlanta uses intervention techniques based on a public health approach, disease control and behavior change methods. The program, funded in part by the Annie E Casey Foundation has a goal of addressing the needs of those who live in NPU-V communities, which has some of the highest rates of gun violence in all of Atlanta. Through the Cure Violence model, outreach workers provide intensive case management services for youth and community members and help them to gain exposure to new activities and resources.
“If you think about a disease or a disorder if you’re going to go to a doctor the first thing, they are going to do is identify what may be going on with you and the second thing they will do is come up with a treatment plan for you and that is pretty much what we do,” said Cutno.
Prior to the launch of Cure Violence Atlanta, team members also launched Trauma Response Network—a violence intervention program that focuses on healing trauma in communities impacted by gun violence and providing equitable resources for individuals.
There has been a recent change in response to crime in Atlanta communities. Due to the work of civic and community groups, along with staff of Cure Violence Atlanta, more people are working together to help youth and adults who are vulnerable to leading a life of crime.
“One of the ways that you can help and be involved is to make sure that you are culturally responsible when you are talking to young people in our communities,” said Garner.
Because of the continued outreach by program staff to neighborhoods served by Cure Violence Atlanta and the Trauma Response Network, more youth and young adults are being referred to CHRIS 180 to help them move past difficult points in their lives.
Promoting Peace In Atlanta’s Communities Make your voice heard about issues of crime and gun violence: Your voice matters. Don’t just vote in presidential elections. Get involved in local races, join your neighborhood associations and speak with community leaders about issues that matter to you.
Volunteer with Cure Violence Atlanta and Trauma Response Network: The work of volunteers helps make all the difference. We need your support to continue to impact the community, provide resources and prevent crime.
Sign up for a trauma-response training: The Trauma Response Network offers trauma response training. The purpose of these trainings is to create a more socially aware society and to train individuals and organizations on recognizing, responding to and de-escalating agitated individuals who have experienced trauma.
Share resources with others: Spread the word about the work of Cure Violence Atlanta and Trauma Response Network. If you know someone in need of case management services of therapy, make a referral by visiting chris180.org/npuv/. For more information contact Alfred L. Garner II, MSW.
For more resources surrounding trauma, mental health and violence prevention visit our website and Lunchtime live playlist on CHRIS 180’s YouTube Page.
Briyanna Ferguson is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at CHRIS 180. She can be reached at [email protected]