Wednesday June 13, 2012
Louisville -- Today marks the start of the “No Red Dots Campaign”, a neighborhood-based violence prevention program initiated by Councilman David James (D-6) in collaboration with Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D5), the Peace Education Program, and the Life Institute.
The “No More Red Dots” Campaign seeks to educate youth, at-risk adults, and established neighborhood leaders in strategies of conflict mediation and alternatives to crime.
“In law enforcement, we use crime maps to help understand the level of violence on the streets with red dots to represent shootings. It goes without saying that the number of red dots we’re seeing on these maps, most of which are concentrated in West Louisville, is highly alarming. This campaign is about reducing that number by providing our most vulnerable youth with the skills to make positive decisions in the face of escalating violence.” James says.
The No More Red Dots Campaign will be focused in the West Louisville neighborhoods of California and Shawnee, but will look to expand into other communities in the future.
“The California and Shawnee neighborhoods have deep-rooted and well established neighborhood groups that care about their community and can help us get a handle on the problems we face,” says Councilwoman Cheri Hamilton.
The campaign is composed of four distinct programs:
· Middle school students
· High school students
· Young adults (18-25)
· Adult neighborhood leaders.
The development of its innovative curriculum was a collaborative effort between leaders of the Peace Education program and Life Institute, Inc, two local organizations with a combined 50+ years of working with at-risk youth throughout Louisville. Eddie Woods, CEO of the Life Institute, and Eileen Blanton, Executive Director of Peace Education, have both voiced their optimism for the potential of the Campaign.
“Recent events have shown us that the skills of peer mediation, conflict resolution, and prejudice reduction are needed now more than ever . We look forward to working with the wonderful youth and leaders in California and Shawnee. We were honored when Councilman James asked Peace Education to be a part of the No More Red Dots Campaign.” says Blanton.
The campaign will also be collaborating with Board 4 Change, a non-profit organization established with the goal of becoming a national force in stopping gun violence. The Executive Director of the group, Luther Brown, also runs a Kids Café in the California neighborhood.
Upon the completion of the multi-week programs, the four groups will meet for a collaborative workshop to discuss what they have learned and how they can work together going forward. Guest speaker Ricardo “Coby” Williams, a star of the award-winning documentary The Interrupters, will also be in attendance for this event. Williams will draw from his experience as a conflict mediator in inner-city Chicago to provide the No More Red Dots Campaign participants with ways to ensure their efforts are sustainable.
Despite the campaign’s comprehensive approach, James acknowledges that this initiative is not a stand-alone solution to violence in West Louisville.
“There is no quick fix to the problem of shootings in West Louisville. We’re dealing with a complex problem with long-term economic and cultural components. The No More Red Dots Campaign is about taking that first step and reaching out to the men, women, and children who are desperate to lift our community out of the line of fire.”
Councilman James is proud to serve as a member of the Violence Prevention Workgroup, which was recently commissioned by Mayor Fischer to address the outbreak of violence in West Louisville
David James (D) 5
Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D) 5