Community Connection to Reduce Gun Violence

Community Connection to Reduce Gun Violence

The Community Connection to Reduce Gun Violence Project helped diffuse conflict in the street by hosting a leadership summit with local high schools. The goal was to connect and inspire the neighborhood under one common vision. The project connected student leaders through activities, story sharing, table talks, and trust walks.
If we connect people, we will start building a community. If we build a community, we can build relationships and trust. If we build relationships and trust, people will look out for one another. There will be more love and support. If there is more love and support, there will be less gun violence. We, the youth, envision that adults will be able to diffuse conflict going on the streets if they know who the kids involved are.
- Student Reflection
FEEL Empathize

Exploring Various Stories of Youth-led Changemaking

The team started by taking the following steps:

- Exploring the purpose of the FEEL stage.
- Reflecting on their reactions and feelings about their community.
- Conducting a variety of listening, organizing and empathizing activities.
- Interviewing community members.
- Discussing their personal emotions around issues and events and debriefing the interviews.
- Analyzing and selecting a topic that aligned to their passion and themes that bubbled up in their interviews.
- Researching and conducting a Town Hall experience about their topic of gun violence.
IMAGINE Brainstorm

Students Selected The Issue of Gun Violence

Based on their personal stories and community interviews, students selected the issue of gun violence. They took the following steps to move from their topic idea to project ideas:

- Sharing takeaways from their research on gun violence.
- Collecting stories from offenders themselves, families of offenders, victims and families of victims.
- Engaging in a circle of concern, systems of power/roots analysis. - Developing their WHY statements.
- Watching documentaries to generate further ideas.
- Listing ideas for responses to and solutions around the issue of gun violence.
- Analyzing and unpacking their ideas to tease out action steps and evaluate each idea.
DO Brainstorm

Designing a Leadership Summit

After evaluating their ideas, they committed to designing a leadership summit. They took action in the following ways:

- Connecting to and inspiring youth in their community.
- Recruiting and sending invitations to area high schools – in their immediate neighborhood.
- Developing a vision statement.
- Securing participants and guest speakers.
- Brainstorming all the items involved in excellent event planning while considering sustainability, feasibility, and detail orientation.
- Creating a process map, task assignments, and deadlines.
- Managing the event details including all activities.
- Executing a leadership summit in May.
SHARE Prototype

Sharing Their Passion

Following their event, students have continued sharing their passion around this topic – as well as the buzz of their leadership summit.