(Source: Gun Violence Archive.)
While mass shootings tend to get the most media attention, gun violence occurs in communities almost every day, disproportionately affecting communities of color. Just like COVID-19, gun violence is a public health issue. America is experiencing an epidemic in communities across the country, where exposure to gun violence is the primary driver of more gun violence.
Community-Driven Approaches to Gun Violence Reduction
The good news is, several community-driven approaches have shown a sustained reduction of gun violence in cities and regions across the country. Street outreach, needs assessments, mentoring, workforce development services, and community engagement are the key elements that have effectively reduced gun violence when combined into a well-designed local strategy.
Over the past 20 years […] communities of color and their allies have taken matters into their own hands. With few resources but a wealth of dedication and ingenuity, they have devised a slate of innovative strategies that — if effectively implemented and adequately funded — could end the scourge of cyclical gun violence.”
These approaches need multi-sector collaboration to be effective. Local philanthropic institutions like community foundations have a role to play in addressing everyday gun violence and are well-positioned to bring people together to identify the root causes. By using local, racially disaggregated data, community leaders, civic organizations, local government and other partners can work together to identify and interrupt the factors driving violence at the community level.
Upcoming Learning Opportunities
We look forward to offering community foundations opportunities to explore further their role in preventing gun violence in their communities. Thanks to support from The California Wellness Foundation, we will be launching a gun violence prevention webinar and subsequent learning opportunity in the coming weeks – stay tuned!
Until then, we encourage community foundations to review the following resources to understand how we can help stop this troubling rise of gun violence in our communities:
- California Wellness Foundation blog post: Don’t Accept Gun Violence as ‘The New Normal’
- The Washington Post: President Biden is listening to communities on violence prevention. Congress should, too.
- Chronicle in Philanthropy article (requires subscription): The Rise in Gun Sales Amid Covid-19 Should Propel Philanthropy to Act
- CFLeads webinar recording (January 2021): The Current State of Gun Violence in the U.S.