The Urban Peace program at Advancement Project reduces and prevents community violence, making poor neighborhoods safer so that children can learn, families can thrive and communities can prosper.
SAFETY IS THE FIRST CIVIL RIGHT
"Without freedom from violence, there can be no other freedoms"
CONNECTING HEALTH & WELLBEING TO VIOLENCE REDUCTION
A new approach to preventing community violence, Urban Peace applies public health methods to understand the underlying reasons for violence and creates innovative, holistic ways to change the conditions that lead to them.
Urban Peace's strategy is aligned with the Center for Disease Control's STRYVE Initiative to create healthy youth, families and communities. This two-minute video briefly explains why it's important to look at community safety and community-centered approaches to solving violence.
SAFETY IS PART OF A LARGER ECOSYSTEM OF ISSUES
Like other public health threats, violence is a symptom of many risk factors interacting at different levels; no single factor can put some individuals or communities at a higher risk than others. Both risk and protective factors exist at four different levels within our social ecology: the individual, the relationship, the community, and the societal. Within this ecological framework, preventing violent behavior or the likelihood of violent behavior is possible, but complex.
The public health approach to violence reduction addresses the unique conditions in a given community at the “root” of long-term neighborhood violence. Therefore, a public health approach rejects suppression-only strategies that fail to address the underlying community conditions spawning gangs and violence. This model also goes way beyond incremental, “one child at a time,” solutions to community violence. Instead, the public health model advocates for a wrap-around solution within each high-violence community that is linked to a larger, regional strategy. Our Comprehensive Violence Reduction Strategy (CVRS) explains this model very simply.
When communities are unsafe, residents are unable to meaningfully participate in a community development process, including a process to develop solutions to reduce violence. It is unrealistic for external agencies to ask communities to share in the responsibility of reducing violence without first acknowledging the ways in which gang violence can deny residents meaningful access and input to the process.
Existing violence dynamics are what most often prevent a community from building the cohesion necessary to reduce violence; moreover, gang dynamics reinforce other negative community conditions that then further sustain violence. Communities must build upon their existing networks and enhance their overall capacity to work with multiple sectors if violence reduction planning is to be successful.
URBAN PEACE ACHIEVEMENTS
Urban Peace's major accomplishments from 2007-2012 are summarized in this interactive slideshow: