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Coalition Against Violence - CAV

On Thursday, February 8, 2007, the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) and One HOOD responded to the alarming report that Pennsylvania led the nation in homicide rates for African Americans in a standing-room-only news conference in the lobby of the James F. Henry Hill House Center. They were joined by numerous community and religious leaders, the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, and other area politicians. As a result of the news conference, members of the community were brought together to form the COALITION AGAINST VIOLENCE, a broad-based coalition consisting of community and religious leaders, police, representatives from education and government institutions, and concerned citizens of Allegheny County. The coalition now stands as an independent anti-violence collaborative with some administrative support from the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP).

The purpose and the role of the COALITION AGAINST VIOLENCE is to identify and facilitate the implementation of strategies and initiatives addressing the issues of violence and crime that plague many of the neighborhoods and communities throughout the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The coalition is committed to boldly and actively supporting as well as collaborating with organizations, agencies, initiatives, and programs already working quietly and diligently to help reduce violence.

The COALITION AGAINST VIOLENCE established a working group in February 2007 which updated and significantly expanded “Strategy 95.” This particular document identified strategies to decrease the violence that was occurring at that time. To address the violence in 2007 the Coalition’s working group began with two new sections -- The Community Manifesto and the Role of the Family which became the preamble to the coalition’s 2008 document which contains specific strategies and actions for change.

As a call to action, specifically aimed at the African American Community, the “Community Manifesto” contains definitive steps to accomplish far-reaching goals for ending the violence, and challenges us to reclaim the community by any peaceful means necessary.

The “Role of the Family” contains guidelines for helping families and parents raise their children in a productive, healthy and safe, and peaceful environment. Because of its profound impact upon the strength and the health of families and the entire community, the violence that permeates our communities and neighborhoods is weakening that foundation.

Knowing that families cannot do it alone, the COALITION AGAINST VIOLENCE recognizes the role of the Community as the village. The entire village - institutions of faith, schools, businesses, the government, as well as social and educational institutions, and other caring people in the community – must provide the guidance, and the leadership, as well as the will, to end the cycle of violence that threatens both the family and the village.

In 2008 the Coalition Against Violence began its implementation phase and began forming partnerships with educational institutions, government agencies, community-based organizations, media organizations, communities of faith, and others. Moreover, in 2010, through the auspices of The Pittsburgh Foundation, the organization hired its first Community Liaison. As a result of a series of strategic meetings, the coalition changed its name to The Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence. And most significantly, the Working Group on Implementation has produced this second edition of Strategies for Change: Building More Peaceful Communities.

A Call to Action

Taken together “A Community Manifesto” and “The Role of the Family” sections formed the Preamble to Strategies for Change: The Full Document, and they were specifically written as a Call to Action for the African American community. Now in 2012, more than ever, The Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence firmly believes that African Americans must boldly take ownership of this persistent problem, which has had the most devastating impact on the communities in which we live and work. As stated in the Community Manifesto, “we must seize the time to reclaim our community now.” Furthermore, as stated in the Role of the Family, the village must take the lead in healing the African American community. To significantly decrease the violence everyone living, working and worshipping in our neighborhoods and communities must come together.

But the African American Community and our families should not and must not share the burden alone. Indeed, the collaboration of everyone -- individual citizens, government and education entities, business corporations and agencies, social institutions, as well as philanthropic groups—is necessary. To that end, Strategies for Change: Building More Peaceful Communities the second edition of the Coalition’s comprehensive anti-violence manual is filled with hundreds of strategic points and suggestions that could, perhaps, bring about total and lasting change, and lead to a violence-free community.

Therefore, the coalition strongly encourages the entire community to actively, diligently and forthrightly take action to help move forth the actions and strategies listed in this document. Therefore, the GREATER PITTSBURGH COALITION AGAINST VIOLENCE urges every citizen to read and share this document with their families, friends, workmates, classmates and others within their life circles.

We are thoroughly convinced that these strategies, if implemented, can significantly impact the violence that has become far too common in our communities. More importantly, we ask that you do more than read this document. We ask that you act on the strategies identified. We ask that you be a partner to the GREATER PITTSBURGH COALITION AGAINST VIOLENCE in “moving from complaint to possibility…from planning to implementation and on to mobilization.”

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