Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to expand the city’s crisis management system and provide more funding to grassroots community groups behind the Cure Violence movement as steps towards changing how neighborhoods are policed.
The city will add $10 million to the crisis management budget and will add locations in Soundview, Bronx, Jamaica, Queens and Crown Heights, and Canarsie in Brooklyn. The network deploys teams of “credible messengers” to mediate conflict. The mayor added that the Cure Violence movement will be present in 20 precincts serving communities with the highest level of gun violence in the city.
During his Wednesday press conference, Mayor de Blasio was joined by community organizers Erica Ford from LIFE Camp, K. Bain of 696 Build Queensbridge and A.T. Mitchell of Man Up.
“We believe it is important to address violence as a public health crisis, to address it as a disease and help these young people heal, help their families heal,” said Ford who detailed the work of the gun violence prevention and intervention team in jails, schools and community centers to promote their “mantra” of peace.
“Our children are under-invested in, and under-resourced and not criminals and not violent,” said Ford. ” There is no need for the police to come in and continue to have incidents of creating more violence when we are so aggressive amongst each other.” Ford noted that workers at Life Camp are dedicated to helping all those groups within community resorting to violence to deal with untreated trauma, including police officers, noting a record-setting number of police suicides in 2019.
Even though community organizers appreciated the newly promised funds the called on the mayor to keep promises to give more power to community-based organizations to police neighborhoods.
“We’re going to be working with and watching our mayor in the next 19 months, and he has welcomed that,” said K. Bain. “Accountability has to happen on our end in the community, has to happen in law enforcement and it has to happen with elected officials. This is how we move forward.”