• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

Conn. launches community gun violence prevention commission

ByChad J. Johnson

Sep 1, 2022

Programs across the state that work to reduce gun violence on the streets are eligible to receive grants they can use to enhance their programs.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The state is tackling gun violence with the new Commission on Community Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention.

Its goal is to reduce community gun violence and expand organizations that are already doing grassroots work in local neighborhoods.

“It gives a street-level view of what’s going on,” commissioner Leonard Jahad said.

Not only was Jahad selected to sit alongside public health experts on the commission, but he is also the executive director of the New Haven-based Connecticut Violence and Intervention Program.

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“We handle cases, we build relationships through introductions. When someone gets shot, we’re in the hospital. We’re 24 hours a day,” Jahad said.

The program focuses on mentoring at-risk youth between the ages of 13 and 24 who are either involved in violence or victims of gun violence.

“We forge relationships, we maintain them, we are brave, we keep our finger on the pulse of the community,” Jahad said.

Organizations like his are eligible for state grants to help the newly formed commission to reduce gun violence.

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The New Haven program mediates conflict in city neighborhoods and works with victims of violence seeking revenge, working to make city streets safer.

“We go into schools and into communities and build those relationships and show them that there are opportunities outside of the streets,” said Alivia Langley, Connecticut Violence Intervention Program Manager.

These opportunities show young people a path to success in helping to target the root causes of community violence.

“We have a goal. Everyone we meet, we have a goal to help them make positive choices and improve their behavior,” Langley said.

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With eight homicides in the city of New Haven this year, they are teaching young people the importance of choices that can help save lives.

“Nothing impacts the community like hearing a gunshot or having a family member or friend be the victim of a shooting or homicide,” Jahad said.

As both a commission member and a community organizer, Jahad said he could bring different perspectives to the commission.

The hope is that everyone from different backgrounds can work together on the panel to help reduce gun violence in Connecticut.

Organizations chosen to receive the grants can expand the work they do to prevent conflict in the streets.

Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Facebook, Twitterand instagram.

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