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News & Media

For Immediate Release: October 24, 2019
Contact: Heather Cabral | heather@westendstrategy.com | 202-550-6880
Erin Williams | ewilliams@faithinaction.org | 202-748-0688

Washington, DC – Today, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV), introduced the Break the Cycle of Violence Act. This landmark bicameral legislation will, over the course of a decade, invest $900 million in proven anti-violence initiatives across the country, including group violence intervention, street outreach, and hospital-based violence intervention programs.

This move comes less than a week after The Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium co-hosted a briefing with Senator Booker, Giffords Law Center and Representative Horsford along with community leaders and practitioners of public health gun violence prevention programs. Consortium members comprised a panel of community and faith leaders to discuss the gun violence prevention methods and programs that have worked in their respective cities.

Rev. Michael McBride, director of Faith in Action’s LIVE FREE campaign said during the discussion, “We have found that less than half of one percent of your population will drive as much as 50-60% of gun shootings and homicides – there’s a small number of people caught in violent conflicts that need to healing and intervention. We believe that the greatest approach to ending gun violence is a public health approach that centers the people who are most likely to shoot or be shot.”

“For over 30 years, we have been engaged in daily work that has made NYC the safest big city in America. We know that gun violence is a public health issue and we have to invest resources [for] the people doing the work on the ground,” said Erica Ford, CEO of LIFE Camp, Inc.

Anthony Smith, executive director of Cities United, added, “We ask Mayors: to take a two prong approach, implement strategies to intervene in violence today and invest in upstream solutions to disrupt the cycle of violence.  We currently have 130 Mayors who are committed to reducing violence of young Black men and boys by 50% by 2025.  Every child deserves to be safe, healthy and hopeful”

Rev. Jeffrey Brown, one of the leaders behind the anti-violence initiative in Boston that led to youth crime rates dropping by nearly 80% over a decade, credited the change to congregations engaging at-risk youth and collaborating with them to build creative solutions, “We saw a 79% reduction in gun homicides over 8 years, but the real miracle in Boston was seeing the adults check their egos at the door and make real change happen,” Brown said. “You can’t have a healthy city if all residents are unable to participate in all that the city has to offer.”

Also present at the briefing was Chicago leader Chico Tillmon, who recorded a video for LIVE FREE’s series “Hearing The Unheard,” in which leaders share about the anti-violence work they are doing in their respective cities. “As a country we need investment,” Tillmon said in the video. “We need a comprehensive approach to trauma because there’s no way you can oppress a particular group of people for centuries, and then just give them a job and think a job is an answer.”

“What a day to celebrate.” McBride said on the introduction of the Act. “Jesus said ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’ For years we’ve been calling for a national investment in strategies that work to prevent gun violence in urban communities. We know what works. We now have a pathway to scale Peacemaking up. We join these sponsors and call on all people who love peace and justice to push for this righteous and healing investment of our tax dollars to save lives.”

If passed, the Break the Cycle of Violence Act would provide over $900 million of federal grants to hospitals that treat at least 250 shooting or stabbing incidents a year; communities that experience 20 or more homicides per year and have a homicide rate at least twice the national average; or communities that need more resources to address gun and group-related violence. The grant awarded would be renewable over five years.

“As a survivor of gun violence myself, I know firsthand that violence does not discriminate over whose life it strikes,” said Greg Jackson, national advocacy director for the Community Justice Action Fund. “This Act will benefit every person, regardless of race, economic status, or party lines. We cannot live in a country where gun violence is the number one killer of African American boys in our country. Our lawmakers must see that, and they must join together to make this Act a reality.”

The Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium serves as the conduit to identify, assess, and coordinate strategies in communities impacted by the cycle of violence. Rather than infiltrate cities with one size fits all methodologies, the BBGVPC will be responsive by implementing or expanding grassroots approaches that integrate local champions, align local resources, and garner political will in order to build safe and sustainable communities.
 
Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information visitwww.faithinaction.org.
 
Faith in Action is a 501c(3). Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.

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