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After a Violent Weekend in D.C., Community-Based Gun Violence Intervention Programs Can Provide Solutions

Over the weekend, several people were wounded in shootings across Washington, D.C. On Sunday alone, at least five people were wounded and one person was killed in separate shootings. This follows an altercation at a fast-food restaurant Thursday that left 11-year-old Karon Brown dead from a gunshot wound.

Research indicates that gun homicides and assaults are disproportionately concentrated in cities, like D.C. And within the 50 cities with the highest murder rates, gun violence reflects and intensifies this country’s long-standing racial inequities. Black Americans account for 81 percent of the victims, despite making up only 38 percent of the population. In light of this, more cities are taking a comprehensive approach to gun violence prevention, which includes adopting and supporting evidence-based community violence intervention programs in neighborhoods hit hardest by gun violence.

In D.C., volunteers with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are advocating alongside their local partners for increased funding for community-based intervention programs, including the D.C. Office of Neighborhood Safety and Cure the Streets. The office provides funding for violence intervention organizations in Ward 6, 7, and 8 and operates the Pathways Program, which provides long-term and tailored support for the people at highest risk of involvement in gun violence in an effort to break the cycle of violence for those individuals. Cure the Streets uses the Cure Violence model, which employs street outreach workers who actively mediate conflicts and prevent retaliatory violence between those who are at risk of committing or becoming the victims of gun violence.

The District also supports multiple hospital-based intervention programs that engage patients while they are still in the hospital, often just hours after a violent injury, to reduce the chance of retaliation and violent injury recurrence. Additionally, The TraRon Center provides art therapy as an after-school and summer program for young people coping with daily gun violence in their community.

Together, these programs offer a community-centered approach to tackling gun violence in the District. If you have any questions about these programs or how they can prevent shootings, please don’t hesitate to reach out.