The California chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement applauding the Los Angeles City Council for allocating $2,150,000 to hire and train additional violence intervention workers in Los Angeles.
“Investing in violence intervention programs will save lives — this decision is a win for gun safety,” said Deborah Nelson, a survivor of gun violence and volunteer leader with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action in Los Angeles. “We are proud to stand in solidarity with the Urban Peace Institute, the Los Angeles Intervention Coalition, and other partners that have been leading this work for years.”
“For years, Black and Latino led organizations have been at the forefront of this movement to end daily gun violence and save lives in California communities,” said Ashley Celada, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Los Angeles. “I’m thankful our City Council members are recognizing the importance of violence intervention work in our communities with this investment.”
“We applaud the Los Angeles City Council for funding peacemakers,” said Fernando Rejón, Executive Director of Urban Peace Institute. “This new support will allow the City to hire and train peace ambassadors to help prevent gun and gang violence. Ambassadors support peace efforts led by Community Intervention Workers on the streets of Los Angeles to engage underserved communities, calm tensions before they begin, and prevent acts of retaliatory violence. Law enforcement alone cannot address this recent surge in violence.”
“When there is a crisis that can lead to violence, we are the responders providing conflict resolution,” said Ben “Taco” Owens from the Detours Mentoring Group and the Los Angeles Intervention Coalition. “We know that intervention has had a positive impact on the City. However, we need more trained gang intervention workers who know how to work with victims, law enforcement, and community. This recent vote will help put more peacemakers on the streets.”
Community-based violence intervention programs, such as the Urban Peace Institute and the members of the Los Angeles Intervention Coalition, apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in California’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. These programs apply a public health model to ending gun violence and keeping Californian communities safe. Many community-based prevention and intervention programs in the U.S. have now adapted their strategies to inform community members about the risks of COVID-19.
There are over 14,000 gun homicides in the U.S. every year. In 2015, half of the gun homicides in the US took place in just 127 cities, which contain less than a quarter of the population. And while California has some of the strongest gun laws in the country and has seen reductions in gun deaths over the last decade, there’s still an average of more than 3,000 gun deaths in the state every year.
More information about violence intervention and prevention funding available here. Statistics about gun violence in California are available here, and information on how California’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with California Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.