Maryland Violence Prevention Coalition

Maryland Violence Prevention Coalition is a coalition of organizations with a joint mission of reducing violence and improving living conditions in underserved Maryland communities. Using a community-led approach, we seek to empower the voices often neglected and educate elected officials and the public about urgent community needs.

 

The coalition formed in 2018 to coordinate education and advocacy efforts to support Delegate Brooke Lierman’s bill to increase state funding for local violence prevention organizations. Del. Lierman brought together a diverse group of organizations and individuals with a shared interest in expanding public health approaches to violence reduction. The coalition helped pass the bill through both chambers and Governor Hogan signed HB 432 into law.

 

The 2018 law established the Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (MD VIPP), but the program has been inconsistently funded in recent years. During the abbreviated 2020 session, the coalition supported Senator Jill Carter and Del. Lierman’s bill to allocate modest funding to MD VIPP community-based violence reduction strategies like Baltimore’s Safe Streets program, Roca, and Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs. SB 708 successfully cleared both chambers, but was vetoed by Governor Hogan along with many other criminal justice reform bills. Despite the setback, the growing coalition continues to share information and collaborate on advocacy and education during the dual public health crises of COVID-19 and violence.

 

The coalition is co-chaired by Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence and the Community Justice Action Fund and seeks to elevate the work of groups working on the ground in Baltimore and across Maryland to prevent and interrupt violence. MVPC is composed of more than 50 community members including activists, social service providers, healthcare practitioners, survivors of gun violence, policy advocates, legislators, concerned citizens, violence prevention practitioners, researchers, and scholars.

The coalition meets weekly to develop policy recommendations, advocate for legislation and funding to reduce violence, as well as promote system-wide changes and approaches necessary for communities most impacted by violence to thrive. We believe that Maryland will not arrest or prosecute our way out of our challenges with violence. Many root causes of violence are the result of generational trauma, structural racism, denials of opportunity, and systemic under-investment in our state’s youth, families, and communities.

 

As policymakers and political leaders explore innovative ways to direct resources beyond policing, MVPC strongly recommends that funds for public safety be directed toward saving lives in black and brown communities most impacted by violence through investments in evidence-based programs. These programs not only reduce violence and enhance public safety, but also improve social and health outcomes across entire communities.

 

We recommend investing in four major areas to reduce gun violence in Maryland:

• Funding Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Organizations

• Funding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Programs Targeting Those Most At Risk

• Funding Violence Survivor Support Services and Resources

• Funding Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs

 

Including these program areas and public health approaches in the larger discussions taking place is critical to finding a path toward improved public safety and beginning the long process of addressing the inequity in our criminal justice system.

 

For more information about MVPC, including how to join our growing movement or engage our coalition as thought partners for meaningful change, you can contact our co-chairs Liz Banach at liz@mdpgv.org and Greg Jackson at greg@cjactionfund.org.

Funding Resources for Maryland Nonprofits Doing Violence Reduction Work

UA-108453763-1