End Gun Violence

Blueprint for Peace

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Logo reading "blueprint for peace kalamazoo" overlaying a blurred background of a community meeting or presentation.

Vision Statement

Kalamazoo County is a community where every adult and every child thrives and is safe from community violence.

Blueprint for Peace Goals

  • Orange circular logo with a stylized white gun with a slash over it, outlined in white.

    Stop the shooting, stop the violence.

    We must prevent shootings and interrupt retaliation before it happens. Effective prevention and intervention require shared data and strategic application of resources, which can only be achieved by strengthening relationships between law enforcement and priority communities.

  • A white dollar sign symbol centered on a solid orange circular background.

    Cultivate economic stability.

    We must create accessible and sustainable paths to economic strength. Poverty, unemployment and gun violence are positively correlated, and all of these factors are more prevalent in communities of color. To accomplish this, we must increase access to economic opportunities for those who have experienced historical wealth and income marginalization.

  • A minimalistic illustration of a broken heart mended with a bandage on a solid orange background.

    Increase access and build capacity for healing and community restoration.

    Inequitable access to healthcare and essential social services magnifies the trauma experienced by those touched by violence. By ensuring culturally relevant mental health care for survivors and perpetrators, we can support healing that prevents future violence.

  • Illustration of a simple, white line drawing of three connected houses on an orange circular background.

    Foster safe and strong neighborhoods.

    Focusing resources on improving physical and social infrastructure creates more spaces for connection and strengthens networks between these neighborhoods and public services. To reduce community-wide violence, we must concentrate efforts on those neighborhoods most impacted.

  • Icon of two abstract human figures, one standing and the other seated with a bent posture, set against an orange circle background.

    Support children, youth and families.

    Access to child care, support for parents and engaging opportunities for youth creates healthy families, neighborhoods and communities. Proactive interventions, instead of punitive reactions, promote healthy youth engagement and development. Investing in youth and families lays the groundwork for a safer future.

  • A simple orange circle with a white icon showing three circles connected by arrows in a triangular layout, indicating a process or cycle.

    Strengthen capacity and coordination.

    A safer community can only be realized through collaboration. Coalescing community members, public institutions, private organizations, schools, churches and neighborhoods is how we access the full scope of our knowledge. Combining efforts where redundancies exist and building new relationships based on shared understanding protects the resources and energy necessary to effect change.

The Journey

Inspired by the work and initiative of community leaders Gwendolyn Hooker and Tami Rey, in 2021 both the City and County of Kalamazoo declared gun violence a public health crisis. Between 2018 and 2020, shooting incidents in Kalamazoo more than doubled, and numbers of shooting victims nearly tripled. Youth-involved shootings have risen steadily since 2020, and gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and teens in Michigan.

Moved by Milwaukee’s recent progress in reducing gun violence, Jen Heymoss, Kalamazoo Blueprint for Peace project lead and chief facilitator, saw an opportunity to convene disparate local efforts around a shared vision. Milwaukee’s model, Blueprint for Peace, takes a public-health approach to gun violence reduction, complementing traditional criminal justice strategies by recognizing social determinants of health as drivers of gun violence.

Included in the report are actionable steps such as investing in priority neighborhoods, meaningfully serving those who experience the racial and economic marginalizations that put them at greater risk of perpetrating or becoming victims of violence, and uniting groups who are already doing this urgent work. Kalamazoo has funding and assets available that, strategically applied, can expand to meet these needs.

We must build a Kalamazoo where everyone can experience safety and freedom. With evidence-informed practice and full community engagement, we can create achievable solutions based on the assets we already hold. In the words of Reggie Moore, Kalamazoo Blueprint for Peace lead advisor, and creator of the Milwaukee Blueprint for Peace, “Every system, every role, every organization and institution – everybody has a role to play.”

Blueprint for Peace Contributors

  • Bent Not Broken
  • Black and Brown Therapy Collective
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Bronson Healthcare
  • Building Blocks of Kalamazoo
  • Change in Christ
  • City of Kalamazoo
  • City of Kalamazoo Parks & Recreation
  • Columinate
  • Communities in Schools Kalamazoo
  • Community Healing Centers
  • Community Homeworks
  • Douglass Community Association
  • Eastside Neighborhood Association
  • Edison Neighborhood Association
  • Fabrick of Life
  • Family and Children Services
  • Fatherhood Network
  • Fire Arts Collaborative
  • Girls Loving Our Wisdom (GLOW)
  • Group Violence Intervention (GVI)
  • Gryphon Place
  • Healing in Color
  • HOPE thru Navigation- Helping Other People Exceed
  • Integrated Services Kalamazoo
  • Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community (ISAAC)
  • Kalamazoo BLOCKS (Building Leadership and Organizing Communities for Keys to Succeed) Club
  • Kalamazoo Community Foundation
  • Kalamazoo County Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust (ALPACT)
  • Kalamazoo County Continuum of Care
  • Kalamazoo County Family Courts
  • Kalamazoo County Government
  • Kalamazoo County Great Start Collaborative
  • Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services
  • Kalamazoo County Intensive Learning Center
  • Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home
  • Kalamazoo County Office of the Sheriff
  • Kalamazoo County Ready 4s
  • Kalamazoo Defender
  • Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety
  • Kalamazoo Empowerment Services
  • Kalamazoo Moms Demand Action
  • Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing
  • Kalamazoo Public Schools
  • Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency
  • Kalamazoo Township Police Department
  • Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • Kalamazoo Youth Development Network
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the National Association for the Advanced of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Michigan State Police
  • Mothers of Hope
  • Mt. Zion Baptist Church
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Southwest Michigan
  • Next Gen Justice
  • Northside Association for Community Development
  • NowKalamazoo
  • Portage Linking Our Voices
  • Prevention Works, Inc.
  • Read and Write Kalamazoo
  • Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health
  • Southwest Michigan First
  • The Kalamazoo Promise
  • The Synergy Health Center
  • Trenches Church
  • Truth, Racial Healing, Transformation Kalamazoo
  • United Way South Central Michigan
  • Urban Alliance
  • Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations
  • Western Michigan University College of Education and Human Development
  • Western Michigan University Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
  • Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
  • Young Kings & Queens
  • YWCA Kalamazoo

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What is Transformation?

Racial healing is at the heart of racial equity. Racial healing is about:

  • the people work that leads to the transformation of systems;
  • the telling of hard truths about past wrongs and present consequences;
  • repairing the harm of racism;
  • replacing the deeply held system that fuels racism with one that sees the inherent value of all people;
  • authentic relationship-building across real and perceived differences.

 

Without racial healing and building trust, changes in policies or practices are short-lived. Through healing and relationship-building, we can collectively develop new values that affect our everyday decisions in areas of policy making, hiring, education and housing – to name just a few.

What is Civic Health?

Racial healing is at the heart of racial equity. Racial healing is about:

  • the people work that leads to the transformation of systems;
  • the telling of hard truths about past wrongs and present consequences;
  • repairing the harm of racism;
  • replacing the deeply held system that fuels racism with one that sees the inherent value of all people;
  • authentic relationship-building across real and perceived differences.

 

Without racial healing and building trust, changes in policies or practices are short-lived. Through healing and relationship-building, we can collectively develop new values that affect our everyday decisions in areas of policy making, hiring, education and housing – to name just a few.

What is Racial Healing?

Racial healing refers to the process of addressing and repairing the harm caused by racial injustice, discrimination, and systemic oppression.

It involves acknowledging historical and present-day injustices, fostering understanding and empathy across racial divides, and promoting reconciliation, healing, and solidarity among individuals and communities.

Racial healing recognizes the deep-seated trauma and intergenerational impact of racism on individuals, families, and society as a whole, and seeks to create spaces for healing, dialogue, and transformative change.

It encompasses personal, interpersonal, and systemic dimensions, and involves both individual reflection and collective action to address the root causes of racial inequity and promote equity, justice, and belonging for all.

Racial healing is a proactive and ongoing process that requires commitment, compassion, and collaboration from individuals, communities, institutions, and society at large.