In the summer of 2021 in the midst of a string of shootings that claimed the lives of teenagers and young men, then-Ypsilanti Mayor Lois Allen-Richardson brought a team together.
They were a diverse group of elected leaders, educators, community outreach workers and residents all concerned with the toll of gun violence on their communities. For almost two years, they’ve met weekly to educate themselves on solutions and put them into action.
Now, on Monday, May 1, that group — the Community Violence Intervention Team — is inviting teachers, social workers, police officers and any interested community member to attend an all-day summit, with the same goal in mind.
For the team, it’s about saving lives.
It’s Allen-Richardson’s hope that attendees, including those from all parts of the county, “will walk away with an understanding that there is something that they can do, and alleviate some of the fear,” she said.
The event, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Washtenaw Community College’s Morris Lawrence building, will include a keynote address from Thomas Abt, a researcher, former government official and author of the book “Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence — and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets.”
Organizers hope the free event, including lunch and breakout sessions, will help attendees come to a common understanding of how street-level violent incidents ripple throughout communities.
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Organizers have announced other speakers at the summit include Angela Hospice Director of Ministry Engagement Diane Smith, Cure Violence Coordinator of National Strategic Partnerships Aric Johnson, University of Michigan Professor and Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention Co-Director Marc Zimmerman and Health Alliance for Violence Intervention Senior Advisor for Training and Technical Assistance Juard Barnes.