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2014 Community Violence Prevention Summit

The 2014 Community Violence Prevention Summit's theme was: Neighborhood Solutions: Moving from Conversation to Action. On Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, over 200 attendees participated in an event that encouraged communities and residents to learn about and discuss strategies they can use to stem the violence in our communities. PDF icon Partnering in this effort were the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and over 10 other organizations.

The community is concerned about the gang violence which has a significant negative impact on children, youth, and any community. This summit addressed the issue and brought in community leaders working to impact the violence.

The keynote speaker was Julio Marcial, Program Director for the California Wellness Foundation. The California Wellness Foundation has been a leader in moving foundations to see violence as a public health issue. For details and research, please review its Resource page.


Attendees attended workgroups to discuss strategies, initiatives and share information. The six workgroups were:

  1. Know Your Rights (Capt. McElroy; NAACP President Lei-Chala I. Wilson, Esq.)
  2. Trauma-informed School and Communities (Commissioner Dana Brown & Parent Leaders from Cherokee Point Elementary)
  3. Promising Practices for School and Community using Former Gang Members (facilitated by Anthony Ceja, San Diego County Office of Education; Reginald Washington, Project AWARE; Kevin Henderson, Leaders of Change, Youth Build; Tasha Williamson, Compassion Project; Manny Castro, Turning the Hearts Center; Pastor Agner Medrano, Victory Outreach)
  4. Safe School Zones/Safe Passages (Chief Reuben Littlejohn, San Diego Unified School District; Mary Beth Moran, Rady's Children Hospital)
  5. Faith-based Strategies and Initiatives (Pastor Rene Colon, San Diego Compassion Project; Pastor Jesus Sandoval, Diversion Program; Bishop Bowser, C.A.S.T.)
  6. Public Safety Roundtable (San Diego County's HHSA/ Public Safety Group; Gonzalo Mendez, Director of Special Operations; Captain Nisleit, SDPD and Jorge Riquelme, Bayside Community Center; Marsha Lyons and Claudia Balthazar; SAY)

Working Together

Please see our Resource Guide for PDF icon a complete listing of programs and resources. The following lists a number of efforts and strategies that might be helpful as a follow up for the Summit.

The Girls Only prevention education toolkit is the product of collaboration between the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and the City of San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention (CGPI) Focused on girls ages 8-12 years, "Girls Only" fills a need in San Diego by empowering girls before they enter their teenage years. The program outlined in this toolkit provides a forum for young girls to learn to love and honor themselves, giving them the opportunity to find alternatives to the kinds of abusive relationships with men and with themselves that often lead to involvement with gangs, substance abuse and, eventually, the criminal justice system:

The Urban Collaborative Initiative's goal is to make safe, healthy, beautified neighborhoods on a block by block basis by organizing and supporting community efforts.

Keeping children in mind, MidCity CAN advocate changes in governmental policies and systems that improve the "Quality of Life" for all Mid-City residents by coordinating and integrating social, health and community services while fostering greater community involvement and providing a forum for community-based decision making.

An inclusive collaboration that has impacted not just the residents but the youth. These Collaborative efforts between the Broadway Heights Community Council, government leaders, Community based and faith based organizations as well as business owners, schools, the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils and the San Diego Neighborhood Funders has provided strong leadership in this community for the last two decades.

On January 15, 2006, the Chairman of United African American Ministerial Action Council issued the call for the community to come together in the spirit of unity and collective work and responsibility to address the need for radical reform in five key areas of communal and civic lives considered to be essential in building The Beloved Community: - economic development, public education, family stability, public health, and the judicial system.

South Bay Community Services provides the most comprehensive range of services and programs for families, children and individuals in South San Diego County at anytime in their lives when they need it the most. Continuous support from community members and generous sponsors enables timely response to the overwhelming needs of the community thereby touching the lives of more than 50,000 annually.

The mission of Casa Familiar allows the dignity, power, and worth within individuals and families to flourish, by enhancing the quality of life through education, advocacy, service programming, housing, and community economic development

This group of churches and community volunteers reach out to families traumatized by gang violence. The volunteers provide resource referrals as well as assist with final arrangements for their loved one, grief counseling and transition back to wholeness in the aftermath. (Brochure A)

C.A.S.T. empowers residents in high crime areas on how to take back their communities utilizing Walk and Knock information sharing. C.A.S.T. in conjunction with local hospital Trauma Units provides pastoral counseling, if requested, for victims of gang violence from the hospital to the home with the goal ofreducing recurrent hospitalization due to retaliation and/or retribution and reduction of incarceration due to retaliation. (Brochure B)

The El Cajon Collaborative builds relationships, leverages resources and promotes best practices to enhance the quality of life for children, youth and families in our community.

The Southeast Collaborative is a strong group of organizations serving the Southeastern Community. The relationships and learning that occurs strengthens efforts to impact health issues and support families. Facilitated by SAY-SD at O'Farrell, SAY San Diego and partner agencies and organizations provide students and families with a range of prevention and early intervention services.

STAR/PAL provides over 10,000 youth services annually in inner-city neighborhoods throughout the city and county of San Diego. STAR/PAL offers free educational, athletic and recreational programs which focus on promoting youth safety, positive life choices, and academic success.

Research You Can Use:

SANDAG's (San Diego Association of Governments) Criminal Justice Bulletin: PDF icon "Gang Involvement among San Diego County Arrestees in 2012" substantiates qualitative information the Commission has been gathering for the past year from former gang members in the community and from its membership on the California Cities Violence Prevention Network.

CLASP's ( Center for Law and Social Policy) reports on discipline in schools. They write that when discipline is appropriately used, it can help to create structure and establish rules for a well-functioning classroom and school. All students should feel safe, and have a positive environment in which to learn. The underlying empirical data show that the harsh discipline policies that have proliferated for the last 30 years, such as out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, school-based arrests, and transfers to alternative education settings, have had the opposite result. These policies have been unevenly applied to boys of color. Schools and districts can employ alternative discipline strategies that reduce out-of-school suspensions, ex­pulsions, and criminal justice referrals for boys of color while requiring students to take responsibility for their behavior. These kinds of common-sense disciplinary policies are beginning to take root around the country. Here is a guide to help Principals, teachers and administrators: Empty Seats: Addressing the Problem of Unfair School Discipline for Boys of Color

The gang problem in the United States has remained stubbornly persistent over the past decade. But how can we prevent gang-joining, especially during a time of limited national, state, tribal and local budgets? To help meet the challenge, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and theNational Institute of Justice (NIJ) engaged some of the nation's top criminal justice and public health researchers to explore what the evidence shows: PDF icon Changing Course: Keeping Kids Out of Gangs

Consistent with current trends seen in juvenile prostitution, gang members in several jurisdictions target juveniles some as young as 12 years old, forcing them into prostitution. According to the National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC), while many victims are recruited at detention centers, public housing units, shopping malls, schools, sporting events, and through telephone chat lines; gang members will also sexually exploit female gang member associations to capitalize on financial opportunities. The PDF icon Gang Criminal Activity Expanding Into Juvenile Prostitution Intelligence Report 31 Jan. 2012 is a precursor to recent media investigations and stories.

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