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Black History Month

Aaron Foster: It takes a community to heal a community

Black History Month

This Black History Month, we recognize the importance of Black leadership, advocacy, and resilience in the gun violence prevention movement. Throughout February, we’ll be highlighting the important work of Black Americans who are on the front lines of fighting the gun violence crisis in their communities.
Aaron Foster stands at an event with three other men

I have two children that were killed in Fresno, California on the same day, the same way, at the same time, four years apart. After losing my daughter Kayla, I decided to do all that I can to prevent someone from burying a child. Through my work as a program manager at Advance Peace Fresno, I check in with my team daily to assess the needs of the most lethal or vulnerable individuals in our city.

We use community-focused strategies to transform lives and put an end to cycle of gun violence in Fresno. I check in with the people that are in need, providing the tools and resources needed to make change.

I’ve noticed that most of my community is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We have to walk past the places that our loved ones took their last breath daily. Our organization is strongly encouraging everyone that we engage to participate in trauma therapy.

Listen to the wants and needs of the people closest to the pain… because it takes a community to heal a community.

I would advise those working in communities deeply impacted by trauma to listen to the wants and needs of the people closest to the pain; design your strategy around those concerns and include all who are willing to assist in this fight, because it takes a community to heal a community.

I’m motivated to keep doing this work by the successes that we experience as a team at Advance Peace. We engage with the most lethal people in the city of Fresno, and give them the tools needed to resolve conflicts without using a gun.

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