By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
Mayor Brandon M. Scott and community leaders recently convened to update the public on the Mayor’s Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Ecosystem.
The meeting took place on April 25, was broadcast live on Charm City TV, and included the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE), Safe Streets Baltimore, community-based partners, hospitals and public school officials.
“Building a CVI ecosystem is about understanding that an act of violence does not start or end when someone pulls a trigger,” said Scott, in a statement. “By bringing together and supporting public safety partners across our city, we can step in and address the root causes to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.”
Roughly a year ago, Scott announced his plan to implement an exhaustive CVI for Baltimore during his State of the City address.
CVI attempts to connect individual efforts to address crime in Baltimore city and “cover more ground in the city.” It is a community-centered approach that puts people with lived experiences of trauma at the center of Baltimore’s strategies.
Terry “Uncle T” Williams, founder of Challenge2Change and an ecosystem partner, spoke during the live stream about his family’s experience with gun violence at the announcement.
“You think you know your children. I thought I knew mine, but he’s lost his life to gun violence,” said Williams. “I asked God if he could give me another chance, I would turn this around. Thankfully I have a son in college in Savannah, Ga. right now.”
“That’s why I know it can be reversed,” continued Williams. “No matter how crippled and tattered and torn you are.”
MedStar Health is also a partner in the CVI ecosystem.
“In Baltimore, there have been more than 300 homicides annually since 2015,” said Dr. Lucas Carlson, regional medical director of Care Transformation of MedStar Health. “A majority of these are a result of gun violence, but in public health, there’s a saying that ‘statistics are merely human beings with the tears wiped away.’”
Carlson, who also spoke during the live stream, believes hospitals play an important role in the areas they serve.
“We are proud to partner with the Mayor and his office in this effort and believe that through this work we will be able to improve the well-being of our communities and work towards a safer, more peaceful Baltimore,” he said.
Shantay Jackson, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE) announced that they will release annual safe streets reports on MONSE’s website (link) at MONSE. She also announced that there will be reporting available for hospital-based partners and other CVI programming starting July this year.
“There is no other city that is better than Baltimore to demonstrate what the proof of a fully integrated community if a connected village can accomplish,” said Jackson.