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Revolutionizing Healing and Action: Insights from the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy

Amidst the epidemic of gun violence that continues to scar communities across America, it’s critical to not only address the violence itself but to also understand its deeply rooted causes. “They always talk about why Chicago is so bad but they never talk about all the redlining they did and the extreme poverty,” shared Anthony, a 28-year-old survivor, during a restorative circle we joined at one of the site visits in Chicago. His words lay bare the systemic injustices that pave the way for violence—a stark reminder of the complex tapestry of socio-economic factors and historical policies that dictate the landscape of urban violence today.

Last week, I joined forces with some of the most innovative minds at the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA), each of us bound by a relentless commitment to eradicate this plague. As a Black woman propelled by the necessity for social justice, I stepped into this gathering with a resolve fueled by the urgent need to confront and dismantle the systemic barriers that perpetuate violence in our communities.

Our immediate task at the academy was to refine and crystallize our capstone project ideas, setting a deliberate path for our week’s endeavors. Discussions with Dr. Julian Thompson about the impacts of trauma reinforced my resolve to ensure our strategies are not just reactive but deeply restorative. His insights into the pervasive effects of trauma provided a crucial foundation for our work, emphasizing the need for integrated solutions that address both immediate and long-term needs of victims.

Integration of CVI and Victim Services: Assessment of Seattle’s CVI Ecosystem

The current CVI ecosystem in Seattle lacks an integrated approach in providing seamless services for victims of gun violence, resulting in fragmented care and insufficient support for recovery and prevention. This gap significantly affects individuals at various levels of survivorship, including those who have survived being shot, those who have lost a parent or child to gun violence, and the broader community impacted by these traumatic events.

As the academy came to a close, I left not just with insights but with a renewed mandate to lead the charge in transforming our discussions into actionable change. This experience was more than a reaffirmation of our collective responsibility—it was a clarion call to all stakeholders involved.

We stand at a critical juncture, a moment ripe for decisive action and unwavering commitment. Let us rise, not merely to challenge the status quo, but to revolutionize it. Let us not just aim to survive the scourge of gun violence but to fundamentally transform our societies into bastions of safety, equity, and resilience. We have the tools, we have the knowledge, and we have the community. Now, more than ever, we must harness these assets to forge a future where our children can thrive without fear. The time to act is now—let’s be as relentless in our pursuit of peace as violence has been in its disruption of our lives. Let’s rise, let’s heal, let’s work—collectively, courageously, and ceaselessly.