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NAACP Calls to Law Enforcement, Residents, Non-profits and Churches


Call for Unified Response

NAACPThe Boston NAACP is calling on state and federal officials, clergy, residents, business leaders, activists and anti-violence groups to develop a unified response to the recent fatal shooting of four young women shot on Harlem Street in Dorchester, as well as a rash of shootings dating back to the murder of a Mattapan family in 2010.

“There are efforts underway on the local, state and federal level to stop the drugs and guns flowing into our city, and there are well-intended pockets of advocacy attempting to address the culture of violence that plagues our neighborhoods,” said Lori Nelson, Chair of the Boston NAACP’s Religious Affairs Committee. “But, we are missing a unified strategy that links all these efforts and addresses the root causes of this problem—poverty, unemployment, a flawed public education system, broken families and untreated mental health conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Community Anti-Violence Commission

The Boston NAACP is requesting the development of a Community Anti-Violence Commission that will include the various community stakeholders. The Commission will be charged with making violence and the factors that contribute to the violence a primary focus for planning, advocacy and action. The participating groups will also be asked to shift their funding priorities and initiatives to elevate community violence as a specified priority.

Two Phased Approach

The Boston NAACP is requesting a two-phased approach to the anti-violence efforts of the Commission, and of its participating entities and individuals.

Phase 1

 Phase 1 involves a coordinated campaign by non-profits, churches, neighborhood associations, and others to address the “culture of violence”.

“Although we are seeing the impact that violent homes, neighborhoods, entertainment and overall culture is having in society, we absolutely are on the front lines of this battle to stop senseless violence in our communities,” says Michael Curry, President of the Boston NAACP. “We have an opportunity with the outrage over these recent murders to begin a cultural shift that needs to reach every child, every adult, every family, every school and every youth program.”

The NAACP’s proposal calls for a campaign to highlight the impact of violence and, most importantly, provide the resources to families on either side of the violence equation—victim or victimizer. “The shooter comes from a family, and some point he or she needed our assistance, and we have failed them.”

President Curry recalls the murders of his nephews Michael and Antoine in Mattapan, his Aunt Grace in New York, as well as the incarceration of three family members for murder. “This issue penetrates multiple generations, and I believe is a product of centuries of forced poverty, neglect, abuse, over-incarceration and unmet needs,” says Curry.

“We now need to recognize that it is going to take a concerted effort to identify the root causes and address them for this generation and the next.” The Boston NAACP has suggested the creation of a “Community Response Team” out of the churches, where congregants with expertise and training in social work, mental health, etc. will be dispatched to homes of potentially violent children or survivors of homicide.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Boston NAACP’s proposed campaign involves a coordinated, policy-based effort to address the following:
  • The availability of guns and drugs in neighborhoods of color
  • The quality of education in the Boston Public Schools
  • The impact of unemployment in Boston’s communities of color, with consideration of the impact of
  • CORI on future employment for black and brown men
  • The lack of training, treatment and post-release support for those incarcerated from Boston’s
  • communities of color
  • The impact that high-arrest and incarceration rates in Boston are having on communities of color

What is Contributing to the Violence?
 
The Boston NAACP is requesting the Commission take a serious look at policies, practices and attitudes that are contributing to the violence. The Commission and its members would be expected to provide a unified voice for changes in local, state and federal policy.

The Boston NAACP is also requesting the following:
  1. Research on the perpetrators of violent crimes to identify common causes (e.g., family structure, abuse, location, etc.), and potential solutions
  2. Assessment of the drop-out rates and quality of education in the Boston Public Schools and its interrelation to violent offenders
  3. Recruitment, promotion and retention of officers of color, and the assignment of diverse police officers in impacted neighborhoods
  4. Collaboration between the Boston Public Schools, Charter Schools and Youth Programs to invest resources into violence prevention
  5. Development of a parent and youth crisis line that would provide resources for potential victims or violent offenders
  6. Review of the effectiveness of existing violence prevention programs or initiatives, and funding to scale up programs that have proven to curb violence
“Boston was heralded for its miracle two decades ago for its efforts to reduce violent crime, but the strategy lacked longer term solutions,” said Supreme Richardson, Community Coordination Chair for the Boston NAACP. “Locking them up and focusing on just gangs does not address the cycle of violence, and we’re witnessing the resurgence. We’re going to have to dig deeper, pull these young men and their families into the solution and begin a process for reducing violence.”



 
About Boston's NAACP

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. The Boston Branch is the first chartered branch, established in 1911.

Contact:

Michael Curry, NAACP
617-427-9494
bostonnaacppresident@gmail.com
http://www.bostonnaacp.org

Posted: Month August 21,2012     Nancy J Conrad


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