Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods joins the Cities United’s Reimagining Peace Challenge

May 19, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 19, 2021) —The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods (OSHN) announced today it is participating in the first-ever Reimagining Peace Challenge launched by Cities United, a national network of mayors committed to reducing the epidemic of homicides and shootings among young Black men and boys.

In their mission to reduce homicides and shootings among young Black men and boys ages 14 to 24 by 50 percent by 2025, Cities United has identified a crisis response system that cities can co-lead with community partners to reduce violence and promote peace. The Cities United Reimagining Peace Challenge, which will run for 12 months beginning in April 2021, includes 10 cities: Louisville, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Buffalo, Denver, Houston, Manor (TX), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Richmond (VA).

As part of the challenge, cities and their identified community partner will develop and implement a coordinated crisis response system alongside their Peace Challenge peers. Each participating city will receive training and technical assistance from experts who specialize in violence interruption and street outreach, stakeholder coordination, victim services and violence prevention awareness communication and marketing. Participating cities will partner with a local community-based organization specializing in violence interruption and street outreach in each respective community and be eligible for a mini-grant up to $5,000.

In Louisville, the $5,000 mini-grant will go to No More Red Dots (NMRD), a violence-prevention group that mentors children to engage in educational and empowerment activities.  No More Red Dots will use its grant of $5,000 to enhance its work mediating and de-escalating potentially violent situations.

OSHN also has begun receiving training and technical assistance from Fund Peace, a national organization that specializes in violence interruption and street outreach, stakeholder coordination, victim services and violence prevention awareness communication and marketing.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said OSHN’s involvement in the Cities United Peace Challenge fits into the city’s whole-of-government approach to reducing gun violence. “It’s long past time that our city and our country collectively put in the time, energy and resources to address the root causes of gun violence,” he said. “I applaud OSHN’s leadership and its team for all their work to help move our city from tragedy to transformation.”

“It’s important that we join Cities United’s Peace Challenge because our city has been significantly impacted by the pains of injustice, an increase of violence and the pandemic. We need to engage in strategies that bring healing and peace to our city,” said OSHN Director Monique Williams. “The provision of technical assistance and training around strategic outreach and coordinated crisis response have been invaluable as we strengthen our city’s infrastructure for gun violence reduction.”

“The beauty of the Peace Challenge is how unique communities, each with their own culture and wisdom, will be combining forces to solve this problem,” says Andre Canty, Senior Associate of National Initiatives for Cities United. “An epidemic of this scale can only be reversed with this level of collaboration across the country, and I’m eager to facilitate these cohorts to make dramatic change together.”

At the end of the engagement, the goal is a decrease in homicides and shootings. Throughout the challenge, OSHN will launch an awareness campaign, establish systems for monitoring results, work to increase in stakeholder engagement, victim support services, and access to trauma and healing support.

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