The Mayor has agreed to a meeting with RISC and VCORE.
It will be Tuesday August 29th. We will gather at 4:30 pm at City Hall. The delegation sitting down with the Mayor will go inside for the 5 pm meeting, while other RISC and VCORE members stay outside City Hall conducting a Prayer Vigil for the success of the meeting, and for all those impacted by gun violence in recent years.
Click here to read the July 14th letter asking for this meeting (co-authored by RISC & VCORE)
Click here to read the "RISC Statement After June 6, 2023 Monroe Park Shooting: Where Do We Go From Here?"
Our city’s gun violence crisis is only worsening; 2022 ended with an increase in shootings and 2023 is shaping up to be just as bad if not worse. The average age of a gun violence victim in our city is 28 years old, and initial analyses suggest that the violence is committed by groups of individuals.
After conducting extensive research into what other cities throughout the country had successfully implemented that worked, we came up with our solution - a proven, evidence-based program called Group Violence Intervention (GVI). GVI has been implemented in dozens of cities nationwide, where it has been proven to cut homicides in half.
Click here for the website of the National Network for Safe Communities, the providers of GVI.
There are many studies documenting the effectiveness of GVI; click below to read -
Click here to access the website of Council on Criminal Justice's Violent Crime Working Group; toward the bottom of this page are very helpful bulletins this group is putting out regularly. Many of them have to do with GVI / focused deterrence.
Where We Are
We first presented GVI to Mayor Stoney on February 24, 2020. We first asked him to move forward with implementing it in June of 2020. Each time, he would say he needed more time to make his decision.
As soon as he was re-elected in November of 2020, Mayor Stoney refused to meet with us any longer. He instead reported to us that he would be developing his own hybrid gun violence intervention framework. This framework came out a year and half later; there are many good elements to it (such as prevention program with younger children, trauma response after shootings, etc ...) but nothing that resembles an actual intervention that can stop the violence that is happening right now.
So, we continued calling upon the city to implement GVI.
On October 19, 2021, we held a Gun Violence Roundtable. CLICK HERE TO SEE A RECORDING OF OUR GUN VIOLENCE ROUNDTABLE.
On February 25, 2022, after having been denied a meeting 11 times since he was re-elected, we attempted to meet with Mayor Stoney by taking 115 people down to City Hall. Read here our letter to him, letting him know we would be coming.
Mayor Stoney, yet again, refused to meet with us. Instead, he wrote an "Open Letter to RISC" that afternoon, calling us bullies and accusing us of using gun violence victims as pawns.
We persisted (as we always do!). We met with allies and other stakeholders. Everyone, it appeared, wanted GVI to happen.
In the summer of 2022, one of our allies - REAL LIFE - secured state and federal funding to implement GVI in Richmond. The city would not have needed to fund or administer the program. They took 6 months to give an answer, and ultimately refused to do even this. We also learned recently that the Attorney General's Office had offered the city $300,000 to implement GVI, in January of 2022. They refused this as well.
Mayor Stoney refused to attend our Nehemiah Action 2023. We lamented his failure to implement something that worked with regard to this terrible crisis that continues to claim lives, as well as his failure to show up and listen to his constituents.
And, we launched the next phase of this campaign. Mayor Stoney is term-limited out of office. the next election will be November of 2024. We intend to secure the commitment of all mayoral candidates, so that at our Nehemiah Action 2025, we are celebrating the successful implementation of GVI!
In short -
We are committed to continuing to ask the city to implement a proven evidence-based program, to address this crisis. The suffering and loss of life in this city must end.
A Win Along the Way ...
After the city refused to work with REAL LIFE to implement GVI, the city of Hopewell came forward and asked REAL Life to work with them to do so. GVI is moving forward in Hopewell! Deputy Chief of Police Donald Reid attended our Nehemiah Action 2023, and spoke to his excitement about the program.