Community Members Sought for Anti-Violence Working Group to Collaborate with RSJ, City staff, and the Urban Peace Institute to Help Create Violence Reduction Proposals
Deadline to Apply Is Friday, April 28
SOMERVILLE – As part of Public Safety for All efforts, the City of Somerville is bringing in the nationally recognized Urban Peace Institute for an anti-violence initiative that will include the creation of a community-based Anti-Violence Working Group. Mayor Katjana Ballantyne and the City’s Department of Racial and Social Justice (RSJ) announced today that Somerville residents and workers are invited to apply to join the working group, which will collaborate closely with the Urban Peace Institute, on community safety and violence reduction including gun and gang violence in Somerville. Applications are available starting the week of April 3 and must be received by Friday, April 28, at 7 p.m.
The Urban Peace Institute is a recognized leader in promoting health and safety and ending mass incarceration, with documented success in reducing violence. Founded by civil rights leader Connie Rice, the nonprofit institute broke ground on innovative community-based solutions that address community violence and engage in system reform. Over the past two decades, the institute’s unique approach to addressing the root causes of community-level violence has been applied in more than 20 communities across the country, including Los Angeles where it was founded, to effectively increase safety. Key to the success of their approach is to engage community members in solutions.
“We are honored to have such a forward thinking and effective organization come to Somerville as we work to build public safety for all. The Urban Peace Institute has not only successfully reduced crime, they have also reduced youth arrests because their public health approach understands that we must address the root causes of violence and systems that are not working,” said Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “I want to thank the Racial and Social Justice Department for bringing such an important partner to Somerville. We need to seize this opportunity, so I encourage community members to get involved.”
The Anti-Violence Working Group will consist of community members who live or work in Somerville, as well as representatives from several local nonprofit organizations, other key stakeholders, and subject-matter experts. All community-member applicants must live or work in Somerville and must be at least 17 years of age. Participants are asked to bring their compassion, commitment, and creativity to the process.
“Since the RSJ Department was formed, this initiative has been a focal point for us. To create effective solutions that promote safety and reduce crime we must center transparency, collaboration, and community voices in this work,” said RSJ Director Denise Molina Capers. “This is a shared responsibility and our community is the key – they have the first-hand knowledge that will transform ideas into sustainable, enduring public safety policies and programs.”
Working group members will be compensated for their time. Members will be expected to attend meetings up to ten hours per month over a period of no longer than six months. The meetings will be hosted both virtually and in person with a hybrid option. Working group members should also be prepared to attend potential additional meetings for subcommittees and independent work. The City will provide access and/or training for any community members who are interested in participating but are concerned that virtual meetings may create an access barrier.
How to Apply: Deadline Friday, April 28
The Anti-Violence Working Group application is available online, will be shared via City and RSJ social media feeds, and through a range of City communication methods and channels. Community members can also pick up printed applications at the Somerville City Hall front desk or by calling the RSJ Department at 781-808-8344.
Applications are due by 7 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2023. Applicants can fill out the online form, email their responses to email@example.com, or hand-deliver or mail them to Somerville City Hall, Attn: RSJ Department, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143.
Please reach out to the RSJ Department with any questions or for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-808-8344.