The Michigan chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the Grand Rapids City Commission voted in favor of a bringing Cure Violence, a program that uses trained workers, both outreach staff and violence interrupters, to help curb violence, to Grand Rapids.
Spectrum Health, prior to the vote, pledged $300,000 to the program in order to help start it in the city.
Community groups and citizens, including Moms Demand Action volunteers, have been advocating for the Grand Rapids City Commission to bring a Cure Violence site to Grand Rapids since 2018.
“Our community wants and needs this, there is no question,” said Annie Vandenberg, a volunteer with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action in Grand Rapids. “Cure Violence is an evidence-informed strategy to reduce gun violence, and it could drastically improve public safety. We’re thankful to Spectrum Health for their investment in our community, to the countless community groups and citizens that have been advocating for this contract since 2018, and to Mayor Bliss and the commissioners for voting in favor of a contract that recognizes gun violence in our community for what it is — a public health crisis — and appreciate them putting in the work to bring a cure to Grand Rapids.”
Cure Violence street outreach workers and violence interrupters, often people from the community with their own history with gun violence, help prevent shootings by both identifying and immediately mediating conflicts in a community and working with individuals most at risk to address longer-term challenges through case management and services. Some Cure Violence sites in cities such as Chicago and New York have seen reductions in shootings.
In an average year, 1,212 people are killed by guns and 3,507 are wounded. Gun violence costs Michigan $9.1 billion each year, of which $422.6 million is paid by taxpayers. Gun violence in Michigan has been on the rise for the last decade, with gun deaths increasing 11% between 2010 and 2019. Read about gun violence in Michigan here.