CRITICAL ACTIONS NEEDED TO REDUCE HOMICIDES BY 60% IN 5 YEARS
BEST IN CLASS TRAINING
Strengthening the violence intervention workforce
With training and support, the individuals working day-in and day-out to stop violence have the potential to be nothing less than superheroes. If we want to see better outcomes, we must invest deeply in the personal and professional development of our brave peacemakers and create the best workforce in the Nation.
Peace For DC is investing in world class training in several ways:
The DC Peace Academy is the flagship program of Peace For DC. Launched in partnership with the community-based organizations on the frontlines of DC’s violence intervention efforts, the Academy provides advanced, hands-on training to improve the professional and personal development of DC’s community violence intervention workers. The students attend 13 weeks of classes, taught by DC’s rich network of local experts, learning skills like how to conduct mediations, how to practice cognitive behavioral theory to heal trauma, how to resolve conflicts, how to lead a restorative justice circle, how to be a life coach, and so much more. We have also started conducting continuing education workshops for DC Peace Academy alumni on topics such as entrepreneurship, first time homeownership, building healthy financial credit, and other topics that interest our alumni and that help build economic mobility.
Stop The Bleed - Peace For DC works in partnership with MedStar Washington Hospital Center to train DC's frontline Peacemakers on how to use a tourniquet and combat gauze to stop someone from bleeding out while awaiting arrival of emergency medical services. As of Feb. 2023, we have trained over 100 community violence intervention workers in this life-saving skill. Next we are working to teach workers at DC's public rec centers.
Peace For DC is helping bring Roca’s Rewire Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) program to DC. Roca’s highly successful model of CBT was designed in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital as a behavior change intervention for frontline violence intervention workers to use with young adults at the center of community violence. It is a research-based model grounded in brain science and the impact of trauma. This user-friendly model uses 7 simple skills to help participants interrupt unhealthy patterns of behavior. We started by training the first cohort at the DC Peace Academy. Now we are working to increase the number of individuals trained to teach Roca’s Rewire CBT for the DC Peace Academy. Ultimately we hope to teach all of DC’s frontline community violence intervention (CVI) workers how to practice Roca’s Rewire CBT, and encourage these Peacemakers to apply these skills in their work with the individuals and communities who are most impacted by violence and trauma.
Photo caption: Stop The Bleed workshop with MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Ward 8 CVI workers.
Proven therapies for holistic change
Trauma fuels the ongoing cycle of violence in DC, and by healing trauma we can break the cycle and stop the violence. Existing models of care do not reach the most impacted individuals or neighborhoods. Moreover, victims, survivors, and their loved ones have few options when looking for providers who look and sound like them and understand their background and pain.
Peace For DC is committed to delivering innovative trauma and mental health care to victims and survivors of violence. Drawing on proven models, we have developed a strategy to deliver best-in-class clinical care in the neighborhoods with the highest homicides rates.
Peace For DC is working to heal trauma through the following programs and investment:
Roca’s Rewire Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) - This highly effective program helps DC's Peacemakers heal their own trauma and help their participants to learn how to heal their trauma as well. Peace For DC has incorporated Roca Rewire CBT into our DC Peace Academy curriculum, and are starting to expand these classes to teach DC's community violence intervention organizations and workers more quickly. We are also investing in DC's Peacemakers to have the skills to lead these classes in the future. In addition we are building a CBT Community of Practice where Peacemakers who have received CBT training are able to come together to further develop their skills, talk through cases with each other, and role play to hone their healing skills.
Heal The Healer workshops- Peace For DC has started to offer Heal the Healer workshops for DC's Peacemakers in partnership with Bold Yoga. This is an opportunity for Peacemakers to engage in a variety of healing modalities including meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, and healing circles. This healing work is much needed as every shooting creates new trauma and opens up past grief, trauma, and emotions.
Photo caption: Healing Circle during DC Peace Academy
For many, this is not a second chance, but a first chance at a life free of trauma and full of hope.
We believe that with the right strategies and opportunities, everyone can change their life. But changing behavior and transforming lives is a long-term process that requires dedicated and sustained programming and care.
Peace For DC is investing in this change. We want to provide long-term life coaching, case management, wrap-around services (housing, education, substance use care, job readiness, etc.), cognitive-behavioral therapy and other support to empower individuals to break the cycle of trauma, retaliation and violence and create healthier, happier, and more prosperous futures for themselves and their families.
Philanthropy will enable us to:
Launch Neighborhood Hubs that bring together community-based organizations and service providers in a coordinated effort to reach, engage, and transform the lives of the highest-risk individuals.
Provide 360-degrees of care to 50 high-risk individuals annually, growing our reach to 200 by year five.
Provide participants with direct cash assistance and other incentives to remain in the program.
Provide ongoing independent evaluation of the program.
“5 minutes got me 7 years in prison. I just want to do my job and give others 5 minutes and change their lives for the better instead”
-Andre a violence intervention worker with Women In Heels #CureTheStreet team in Ward 8 Congress Heights, and a DC Peace Academy Cohort 3 student.
This is why we embrace CVI work. Because everyone has the ability to transform and become a better version of themselves. Let’s give them that chance.
What’s your #WhyCVI?
Reimagining a community-powered system of public health and safety.
DC has a rich network of dedicated community violence intervention workers who are best positioned to heal
community trauma and engage with the highest risk individuals. Peace For DC is shifting power and resources to these community-based organizations, creating a new system of public health and safety that operates with as much training and strategic planning as traditional systems of public safety.
Peace For DC is investing in reimagining community safety through several initiatives:
Peace Nites are a Peace For DC initiative aimed at bringing stakeholders together and moving DC forward. Peace Nites are opportunities for DC’s Peacemakers - students, alumni, co-founding organizations, staff, instructors, and guest lecturers of the DC Peace Academy as well as others working in DC’s violence intervention field- to come together to learn and network. Peace Nites have included an amazing lineup of local legends and experts: Tony Lewis Jr. teaching about social justice, organizing and advocacy; Dr. Roger Mitchell showing a movie and leading a discussion about Fred Hampton; a star-studded panel discussion about restorative justice and community healing with MaMa Ivy Hylton, Princess Taylor, Tia Bell & Ryane Nickens; and community Elders: Tyrone Parker and Jo Patterson sharing their deep wisdom.
One attendee who works in the field commented, "Finally, someone has brought us all together, a place to talk and share information. It's progress toward a better model of public safety."
Our Peace Room program is a meeting space where the community-based organizations who lead DC’s community violence intervention (CVI) work can come together to assess their needs for safety, peace, and coordinated action to end gun violence in DC. We serve as Peace Room convener and coordinator as part of our goal of strengthening these organizations, because they have the credibility and trust, and are best positioned to transform communities. Specific progress that we have made with this group includes a presentation and discussion on the role of social media and music as it related to gun violence, a presentation and discussion on conflict mapping with MPD, co-creating a common code of professional standards for DC’s violence intervention workforce to further professionalize their work, and advocating together during the DC Council’s Oversight and Budget hearings.
“Peace for DC is the most consistent organization when it comes to creating effective short/long term solutions. I sincerely appreciate your efforts to advance the culture.”
- Jovan, ACM
Peace For DC is proud to serve as a convener and coordinator for the boots on the ground Peacemaking heroes. By investing in community-based organizations and providing training, strategy, and coordinated action, we can change longstanding dynamics and save lives. Together, we can reduce gun violence right now. System change through community building is key to our mission.
Photo caption: Peace Nite at Busboys & Poets in Historic Anacostia.
ISSUE AWARENESS & ADVOCACY
Helping the public understand the issue, uplifting the voices of survivors and frontline heroes
Peace For DC was founded by survivors and advocates, and we are dedicated to standing up for survivors and peacemakers, educating the public on evidence-based strategies to reducing violence, and urging our local leaders to do all that is possible to Keep DC Alive.
Highlights of recent activities include:
Interviewing DC's amazing Peacemakers and sharing their stories through videos, newsletters, and social media.
Publishing opinion pieces in the Washington Post in 2021 and 2022, and conducting countless media interviews.
Testifying at annual DC Council Hearings in support of sustained funding for violence prevention and intervention, staffing and authority for the Director of Gun Violence Prevention, and implementation of the NICJR Strategic Plan for Gun Violence Reduction.
Hosting online forums in 2021 and 2022 on several topics including Strategic Planning for Gun Violence Reduction, The State of Violence Reduction in DC: the Data, the Plan, the Healing, and participating as panelists in numerous other forums.
2022 #KeepDCAlive sign-on letter
Producing a powerful social media campaign directed at educating the public and building support for how we can invest in peace to #KeepDCAlive.