The trauma and lingering effects of community violence and issues of public safety impact us all, whether we are the victim, the perpetrator or a part of the larger community. A chronic lack of targeted investments and the inability to respond in a holistic way to the needs of communities has brought us to where we are today.
As your councilmember, I want to work with you to create a Ward and city where we can:
- Address the root causes of violence and crime and focus on holistic, community-centered solutions;
- Invest in prevention, intervention and appropriate responses
- Ensure that we have an adequate police force that can effectively serve our community; investing in training and best practices to reduce harm caused by police and continuing to modernize our police force to enable positive partnerships with the community
- Refocus our systems on a more people-centered approach to violence and public safety
- Balance our public safety funding to include more robust violence interrupter staffing and community intervention programming.
We need to address the root causes of violence and crime; we can start even before children are born. Poverty, exclusion, hopelessness, lack of education, mental health; children need to grow up with more than their basic needs.
We can evolve beyond outdated approaches that center only on policing. Prevention, intervention and response – has to involve the entire community;
Together, in partnership, let’s fight to:
- Promote substantial police reform and focus on restorative practices, to move away from practices of criminalization.
- Support community policing best practices that focus on community building, with neighbors and police officers.
- Work with DC Health’s Office of Health Equity, DC Department of Behavioral Health, and community partners to collaboratively define the root causes of violence and create public health strategies to combat the spread of violence. Develop the tools to assess community needs and coordinate behavioral health supports and services.
- Create an advisory body to bridge the gap and to create opportunities for coordinated planning between the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement and the Cure the Street program in the Office of the Attorney General.
- Fully fund and implement the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act of 2016 (NEAR Act) and expand the programming to move communities.
- Expand and scale Building Blocks DC, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, and other place-based strategies to help more neighborhoods get illegal guns off the streets and provide additional resources to communities.
- Establish a Rapid Response team to offer immediate support to communities in crisis and experiencing violence but are not currently connected to a violence interruption partner. The Rapid Response team would include members from the ONSE office, OAG’s Cure the Streets, and Building Blocks DC.
- Promote transparency regarding how funding is spent on public safety efforts by developing a comprehensive framework of public safety investments in the District.
- Scale community outreach efforts to share with communities what efforts are operating in the public safety space and how the programs/resources can be supportive of community needs (i.e. establish a website or portal where residents can access information about the programs and make support requests).
- Use MPD data to better inform our community violence prevention efforts. Expand opportunities for data sharing across violence interruption programs and MPD to be more strategic and community-focused.
- Create a community ambassador program to equip residents, and create awareness about available public safety support.
- Increase workforce training and development opportunities for returning citizens with a connection to opportunities for affordable housing access.
- Use restorative justice efforts to remediate juvenile offenses and scale programmatic offerings to support the needs of youth through mentorship, educational opportunities, mental health supports, and intentional workforce training.
- Increase funding to expand our current credible messengers program for at-risk youth and young adults.
- Increase funding to expand the programmatic and response efforts of the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) community response team to increase rapid response to communities or residents in crisis who are experiencing psychiatric emergencies, trauma, or need support for mental health and substance use disorders.
- Increase funding to expand the school-based mental health supports to meet the needs of students and families.
- Increase funding to support the growth and expansion of community-based mental health providers to meet the unique needs of communities and prioritize the ability of new mental health facilities to be located within communities with the greatest need.