The onset of the coronavirus pandemic and tensions over police violence following the death of George Floyd has brought a new chapter to America’s gun violence crisis. States recorded a historically high surge in firearm purchases amid the pandemic. In some cities where community gun violence is a persistent issue, overall crime is down, but gun homicides increased significantly compared to last year.
Meanwhile, even as many Americans stayed home during quarantines, police fatally remained at the same rate through June 2020 as they did in 2019. Divergent police responses to Black Lives Matter protests and armed white counter-protesters have only exacerbated mistrust between communities affected by gun violence and law enforcement agencies. A growing number of Americans support calls for change to the criminal justice system and the way law enforcement operates. Research indicates that a lack of trust in police departments may lead to higher levels of gun violence in American neighborhoods.
So where do we go from here? How can community-driven gun violence intervention strategies help us reimagine safety during this public health crisis and beyond? How have those strategies helped reduce gun violence in the past, and how are they faring amid the challenges posed by the pandemic?
Join us to:
- Discover the main findings of in-depth local reporting on gun violence in the Bay area.
- Explore some solutions to community violence.
- Discuss philanthropy’s role in ensuring that there is a fundamental repair of the police state that centers on racial justice.
- Identify opportunities for funding organizations that are aligned with community needs on how to reduce gun violence.
Lois Beckett, Senior Reporter, The Guardian's West Coast Office.
Lois Beckett is a senior reporter for The Guardian's West Coast office. She has covered gun violence and gun politics since 2013. As well as serving as The Guardian's dedicated gun violence prevention reporter, she has reported for ProPublica, the New York Times, the New Republic, WNYC's On the Media, and Essence Magazine.
Abené Clayton, Reporter, Guardian's Guns and Lies in America project
Abené Clayton is a reporter on the Guardian's Guns and Lies in America project. She joined the Guardian US in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Before the Guardian Abenécovered local news in her hometown of Richmond, California where she became familiar with the varying efforts to decrease gun violence in the city and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. At the Guardian, she continues to cover gun violence in Richmond and beyond, and contributes to the Guardian’s coverage of topics like the spread of COVID-19 in state prisons.
Tinisch Hollins, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice State Director
Tinisch Hollins is a crime survivor and a native of San Francisco, CA. She has been deeply engaged in the Bay Area social justice movement as the community organizer, policy advocate, and systems navigator for nearly two decades. She has worked passionately to bring the voices of survivors to the center of community engagement and public policy and has advocated tirelessly for those voices to guide decisions, priorities, and resources.
Pastor Michael McBride, Founder and Lead Pastor, The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley
Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) has been active in ministry for over 20 year sand founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor. In March 2012 he became the Director for the LIVE FREE Campaign with Faith in Action. He is one of the national leaders in the movement to implement public health and community-centered gun-violence prevention programs. He is a co-founder of Community Justice Reform Coalition and the National Black Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium which works to center black and brown gun violence prevention practitioners and scale up life-saving interventions related to urban and communal violence. Pastor McBride has served on task forces with the White House and Department of Justice regarding gun violence prevention, boys and men of color, and police-community relationships. In 2016 he was appointed as an Advisor on President Obama’s Faith-Based Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
John Torres, Deputy Director, Youth ALIVE!
John Torres has been a leader in gang intervention and street outreach efforts in the Bay Area for over 20 years, first in San Francisco, where he led the City’s Department of Children Youth and Family’s crisis response program, and since 2009, at Youth ALIVE!. As Deputy Director, John oversees our four central programs, Teens on Target, Caught in the Crossfire, Violence Interrupters, and the Khadafy Washington Project. John received a B.A. from San Francisco State University and Masters in Counseling from the California Institute of Integral Studies and provides therapy to Youth ALIVE clients as a pre-license MFT intern.
This program is open to everyone.