Buncombe County Community-based Response to Violence Coalition

Community members discuss goals and objectives.

Community members gather to discuss goals and objectives in support of the coalition. Photo: Buncombe County.
Community members gather to discuss goals and objectives in support of the coalition. Photo: Buncombe County.

Recently, Buncombe County’s Community-based Public Health Response to Violence (CPrV) Coalition hosted the first multi-sector stakeholder meeting within the community.

Staff from Buncombe County’s Justice Services Department is working with multiple local nonprofit organizations to launch the community-based public health response to violence with the goal of seeing a reduction in all forms of violence within our communities. Partner organizations include My Daddy Taught Me That, The SPARC Foundation, Youth Transformed for Life, The Racial Justice Coalition, Umoja Health Wellness and Justice Collective, Land of the Sky GO Places, Operation Gateway, and Life Over Violence Every Day (LOVE).

Community Leaders and Partners

Leaders from community organizations have been meeting over the past few months to build the core of the coalition to ensure the focus of the group was to bring healing and support where it is needed. Members of the community, law enforcement, health and human services agencies, schools, housing, medical professionals, and justice system stakeholders gathered for the coalition’s kick-off at which Abdul Hafeedh bin Abdullah, Co-Founder of CHASM (Community Healing through Activism and Strategic Mobilization), shared information about the coalition and the importance of community involvement.

He reiterated the significance of striving to work together by aligning efforts that can lead to seeing a reduction in violence as well as addressing the root causes of violence, understanding that all violence is connected. He further emphasized the need to have leadership at all levels present in each engagement, and he encouraged those attending to commit to collaborating and strengthening the work already being done inside of Buncombe County.

The core components of a community-based public health response to violence include training community health workers as violence prevention professionals, supporting youth leadership development, and building a multi-sectoral coalition to prevent and respond to community violence. Community-based public health response to violence objectives is to promote violence as a public health priority and effectively demonstrate the value that community-based, community-led public health thinking and methodology offers in partnership with public safety, social services, schools, and other stakeholders to prevent multiple forms of violence.

Participants expressed excitement about working as part of the coalition to decrease crime and rebuild trust within the community. Libby Kyles, Executive Director of YTL (Youth Transformed for Life), said, “It was exciting to see so many community members and organizations come together for the common cause of reducing violence in our communities, and we recognize the time to come together is now because we need each other to do this work.”

Similarly, Brad Wood, a Peer Support Specialist with RHA, noted, “The CPrV meeting was very informative, inspiring, and great for meeting other community members and organizations working toward the same goal. It was also beneficial to learn about the importance of the work being done by Community Health Workers.”

Next Steps

The next steps for the coalition will be scheduling monthly meetings and figuring out best practices that will be implemented to address the barriers within our neighborhoods. For more information about the community-based public health response to violence initiative, please contact Mr. William Baxter, Buncombe County’s Community Safety & Violence Prevention Coordinator, at [email protected].

 

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