Author: Tonayo Crow
The topic of violence prevention has gained momentum in public health, particularly in regards to the prevention of gun violence in communities across the United States. At Health Resources in Action, our parent organization, our colleagues are doing work both locally and nationally to address this issue. Mo Barbosa, our co-facilitator for the Health Equity Cohort, works with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to move upstream and understand the nature of community violence, as well as the dynamics of gun crime rates, non-fatal shootings, stabbings, and homicides. With this foundation, Mo has helped to implement a system of healing circles with residents experiencing trauma related to gun violence, and works to leverage community resources to improve the ability of interventionist to repond to gun-related crimes. He has also worked with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to train coalition coordinators in violence prevention, and with various streetwork programs to provide technical assistance to street-level interventionists.
While these efforts are integral to creating safer communities, we also want to highlight the work of our Youth Development projects, including the BEST (Building Exemplary Systems of Training Youth Workers) Initiative. Where the aforementioned work emphasizes intervention, youth work has always been a preventative measure. Projects like BEST, which builds the capacity of youth workers through a youth development lens, help young people achieve positive developmental outcomes, from building leadership and social skills to avoiding violence, crime, and substance use. By focusing on the existing strengths and capacities of youth in pursuit of these outcomes, young people are empowered to make decisions that are healthier for themselves and their families.Because of this, we believe investing in young people is ultimately investing in violence prevention.
Happy National Public Health Week, and stayed tuned for more posts!