HARTFORD–As Congress moves closer to a vote on the Build Back Better agenda, community leaders across Connecticut have joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in his call for passage of the bill. In recent days, these leaders have reminded the country that the funding Murphy and others secured for community violence intervention (CVI) programs will reduce gun violence and keep communities safe.
“Local leaders described ways in which the funding would allow them to buttress their efforts to aid young people and families touched by violence. With more money, they said, they could hire more staffers and create more sustainable workloads; expand educational, cultural and professional opportunities for young people; assist residents in wrestling with trauma and building skills to better their lives; and help heal the series of wounds that allow violence to fester in the community.”
“Sean Reeves and Marlene Miller-Pratt, both of whom had children killed in New Haven, called for funding to help people in the community build practical skills in adolescence and adulthood. Reeves noted that some teenagers in the city struggle to read and write, floating through school as they wrestle with the trauma of their upbringing, and graduate without the ability to pursue a professional life.
Miller-Pratt, a science teacher at Career High School, said many of her students said they were in the streets to help themselves and their families survive, to help pay the water bill. ‘Violence prevention is a huge, huge thing,’ said Reeves. ‘But human sustainability is the thing that creates prevention.’”
“With gun violence escalating in cities like Hartford and New Haven, community violence intervention advocates in Connecticut are hoping to see a historic infusion of federal funding, part of President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion spending plan, go toward their work mitigating conflict.”
“During a session with U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy in New Haven Friday morning, community violence intervention advocates said that increased funding could be a game-changer for their programs, which are often understaffed and underfunded, even as cities like Hartford face significant spikes in gun violence.”
The Connecticut Violence Intervention Program “has limited resources, Jahad told the senators. Outreach workers only make $35,000 annually and many work second jobs. With more funding, Jahad would aim to pay his staff a livable wage and double the number of outreach workers.”
As Murphy continues his own gun control fight in Congress, he’s been a top supporter of the Biden administration’s focus on CVI. In August, when urging the passage of the Build Back Better budget resolution, Murphy argued the need for more federal dollars to fund community violence intervention programs.
“If you take a look at what drives violence and exposure to violence in this country, the number one correlative factor is income,” he said. “The poorer you are, the more likely you are to be the victim of violence. By investing in communities that have high rates of violence and not coincidentally, high rates of poverty, you are reducing violence in this nation.”