Lessons unheeded, or how not to repeat a history of violence (Part 2)

This week, The Daily WRAG will feature a three-part series, titled Lessons unheeded, or how not to repeat a history of violence, from guest contributor Linda Bowen of The Institute for Community Peace. In this series Bowen examines lessons learned from past philanthropic investments in violence prevention and offers short vignettes about how funders can frame their thinking around addressing community violence.


By Linda Bowen, Executive Director
The Institute for Community Peace
(Formerly the National Funding Collaborative on Violence Prevention)

Support local control, not local responsibility. In our zest for local control of work in communities, we must not inflict local responsibility for violence prevention (or other social problems) on communities at environmental risk. Grantmakers should encourage community-based groups to recognize and communicate broader community responsibility for violence prevention, not just the responsibility of the targeted neighborhoods that are the focus of a particular intervention.

Forge shared fates. Despite the tendency of our public debates to segment violence by type, race, and geography, we should understand that all forms of violence share similar roots. The ability to link to the broader community is an important step in gaining access to power brokers and resources that support community building, as well as to better appreciate the systemic and structural factors that make communities vulnerable to violence. Grantmakers need to recognize the inter-relatedness of all forms of violence and promote strategies that forge connections across race, type, and place, so that we may work together to prevent these forms of violence.

Recognize the interrelations among the many forms of violence. Segmenting violence and our response to it by type (gun, youth, intimate partner, child sexual abuse, etc.) or by geography (urban, suburban, rural) obscures their connections. Grantmakers should build on commonalities and avoid more narrowly focused anti-violence campaigns that necessarily slight the complex roots of violence.

Related: Lessons unheeded, or how not to repeat a history of violence (Part 1)

Copyright 2013 Institute for Community Peace