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Community-Based Violence Interventions: Proven Strategies To Reduce Violent Crime

June 15, 2022

Across America, communities are struggling to combat rising gun violence. Although overall crime rates remain low, the sale of firearms and instances of gun homicides have caused violent crime to increase dramatically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2019 to 2020, homicides increased a staggering 28 percent, and those homicides were largely driven by guns. This violence has especially harmed communities of color, who have been disproportionately affected by not only gun violence but also economic setbacks stemming from the pandemic.In response to the rising rates of gun violence, many advocates and stakeholders are calling for community-based violence intervention (CVI) programs. These programs have proven successful in reducing gun violence and violent crime more broadly in communities over the past two decades—in some communities by as much as 60 percent. Despite proven effectiveness, CVI programs often do not have sufficient resources, making broader implementation efforts challenging. As interest around CVIs continues to grow, this fact sheet explains how CVI programs can help address gun violence and provide the necessary resources to communities most in need.

Gun Violence Is Having a Devastating Impact on Young People

June 10, 2022

From 2019 to 2020, gun homicides among children and teenagers rose dramatically. As a result, firearms are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 17. In addition, young Americans are suffering from a rapid and devastating rise in school shootings, increasingly mourning the loss of a parent due to firearm-related violence, and experiencing nonfatal gunshot injuries and gunshot threats at an alarming frequency.Despite these concerning trends, some elected officials refuse to protect our youth from gun-related crimes. Instead, they are blocking commonsense gun safety laws and even pushing for counterproductive measures that would further endanger children and teenagers. This must change. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Community-Based Violence Intervention Programs

June 3, 2022

States, cities, and rural communities across the United States are grappling with rising gun violence. While overall crime rates dropped from 2019 to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a spike in firearm sales and gun homicides, growing mistrust between police and the communities they serve, and great economic and social instability. Black and Hispanic communities disproportionately bear the brunt of this instability: They are not only experiencing increased gun violence to a greater degree but also have been hardest hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic and have had resources divested from them for generations.In order to respond to gun violence and address its root causes, communities most affected are banding together to advocate for greater investments in resources outside the criminal legal system that increase safety. Community stakeholders are also working together with their local governments in new and innovative ways to respond to instances of violence and protect their neighborhoods. These include supporting community reinvestment initiatives and building new violence prevention and intervention programs. One tool that is gaining popularity and has proved to be effective is community-based violence interventions (CVI). CVI programs serve as a vital way to connect community resources to the people who need them most, addressing the root causes of gun violence in a holistic way that cannot be done by law enforcement or local government alone.This report addresses some of the most frequent questions around CVI programs. It provides guidance not only to community leaders but also to policymakers seeking to engage with and support these programs.

The Recent Rise in Violent Crime Is Driven by Gun Violence

June 3, 2022

The rising violent crime rates over the past two years is a major issue that elected officials must address immediately. While many have blamed the criminal justice reform movement for the rise in violent crime, the fact is that these increases in violent crime can largely be attributed to an alarming escalation in gun violence. If elected officials are serious about stopping violent crime, they need to prioritize and support stronger gun laws.This fact sheet provides telling data on the link between gun violence and rising crime rates.

What Counties and Cities Can Do To Curb Gun Violence in Texas

May 25, 2022

Gun violence presents a significant challenge in Texas, approximately half of whose residents own a firearm and where a person is killed with a gun every two hours. High levels of gun ownership coupled with Texas' high rate of gun violence create a danger to public health.According to Rand Corp., an average of 46 percent of Texas residents owned a firearm from 1980 to 2016. However, this percentage likely increased after 2020, when the country saw a surge in gun sales associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, estimates suggest that 32 percent of U.S. adults owned a firearm by the end of 2020. Texas is also home to numerous federal firearm licensed (FFL) dealers. Information from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) indicates that as of January 2022, the state had almost 10 percent--5,089--of all FFL dealers in the country. Studies also report that thousands of gun shows6 are organized in Texas every year.

Stopping Political Spending by Foreign-Influenced U.S. Corporations

May 3, 2022

Laws are needed to prevent American-based corporations with appreciable levels of foreign ownership from spending money from their corporate treasuries to sway U.S. elections or ballot initiatives. As discussed in a 2019 Center for American Progress report, a U.S. corporation should be deemed "foreign influenced" and prohibited from election and ballot-related spending if the corporation meets one of the following criteria:A single foreign shareholder owns or controls 1 percent or more of the corporation's equity.Multiple foreign shareholders own or control—in the aggregate—5 percent or more of the corporation's equity.Any foreign entity participates in the corporation's decision-making process about election-related spending in the United States.This fact sheet discusses the ongoing problem of political spending by foreign-influenced U.S. corporations and emphasizes the need for lawmakers to establish foreign-ownership thresholds such as those listed above to limit such spending.

Top 10 Ways To Improve Health and Health Equity

April 28, 2022

From 2019 to 2020, life expectancy in the United States declined by 1.5 years, reaching its lowest level since 2003. It fell yet again in 2021. In fact, the health of Americans has been declining for decades, compared with citizens in other high-income countries:  In 2020, life expectancy in the United States was nearly five years lower than it was in other industrialized countries, and it has only declined further as the country has faced the world's largest total death toll from COVID-19. Unlike the United States, in 2021, many of its peer countries have started to see rebounds in life expectancy with the help of the COVID-19 vaccination.As health declines, it adversely affects not only quality of life but also the economy and national security, including workforce productivity, health care costs, and the fitness of military recruits. Yet these adverse health impacts are not felt equally across U.S. society. For example, the decline in life expectancy has been greater among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations than among the non-Hispanic white population. To eliminate these disparities and those that exist in economic and social systems, an intentional focus on redressing structural and institutional racism is critical. Improving the health of the most vulnerable populations will not only boost overall health outcomes and social well-being, but also strengthen the economy and help to build a strong, equitable future.Policies to strengthen the nation's health must therefore ensure that individuals and all communities are healthy and thriving and that no one is left behind. This can be done through long-term, sustained investments to prevent disease, promote health, and prepare for and respond to continuous and urgent threats to health. Namely, by addressing social determinants of health—such as income, education, housing, employment, transportation, environmental conditions, and neighborhood conditions—policymakers can improve health, reduce racial disparities, and contribute to economic mobility.This report outlines 10 priorities for improving the nation's health.

Reproductive Justice for Disabled Women: Ending Systemic Discrimination

April 13, 2022

Access to reproductive health care continues to be eroded in the United States. In 2022 alone, 41 states have introduced more than 500 abortion restrictions, and the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to decide a case that will determine the fate of Roe v. Wade. Attacks on reproductive health care have a disproportionate impact on certain individuals and communities—particularly the disability community.Reproductive and disability justice are both human rights-based frameworks that, at their core, share fundamental similarities: They both prioritize the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination; the right to raise children—if one chooses to have them—with dignity and in a safe environment; the right to access the health care one needs, free from political interference or stigmatization; and the right to community care. Yet even with such overlaps, the reproductive justice and disability justice movements have rarely interacted due to misunderstanding and miscommunication, particularly around abortion.This report reviews the historical context of the disability and reproductive justice movements, discussing how racism, sexism, and ableism have built discriminatory structures—from barriers to accessing reproductive health services to issues around forced sterilization, sex education, guardianship, parenthood, and sexual violence—that have kept disabled people, particularly disabled people of color, from achieving reproductive equity and justice. It then discusses the work done by the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, which is an interdisciplinary team that utilizes a disability justice framework to study structural discrimination and its impacts on policy. Lastly, this report outlines future plans, emphasizing the importance of collaboration between the two movements.

Seeking Accountability and Justice for Crimes Committed in Ukraine

March 29, 2022

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a clear violation of the U.N. Charter and threatens to upend the rules-based international order established after World War II. With each passing day, there are a growing number of reports of indiscriminate attacks by Russia that likely constitute war crimes. Global outcry over Russia's alleged atrocities has included war crimes accusations at the highest levels, with President Joe Biden calling Russian President Vladimir Putin "a war criminal."To ensure accountability for crimes committed—and to attempt to deter future ones—it is imperative that the international community act swiftly to pursue justice; establish accountability mechanisms where needed for those committing crimes in Ukraine, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression; and enforce penalties. While these steps are unlikely to alter Putin's current course, if Russian soldiers and lower-level leaders see that there is a unified and determined effort to ensure they will be held accountable for atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people, they may change their calculus in carrying out Putin's orders. The international community's message must be clear: Russia's acts of aggression and any human rights violations against the Ukrainian people will not go unpunished.

The Urgency of Designating Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status

March 3, 2022

Cameroon is grappling with multiple humanitarian crises—including an armed conflict—that have increased insecurity, destabilized the nation, and caused its people immense suffering. Under existing immigration law, the U.S. secretary of homeland security is authorized to designate a country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) if it meets certain conditions that temporarily preclude its nationals from returning safely. Deteriorating conditions in Cameroon along with ongoing humanitarian crises exacerbated by the pandemic make return dangerous and warrant immediate humanitarian protection for Cameroonians residing in the United States. Reports indicate that current U.S. asylum policies have failed to provide Cameroonians with due process when seeking asylum. As a result, many Cameroonians have suffered ill treatment and abuse in immigration detention, where they have faced discrimination because of their race, forcing many to return to a country where they may face grave harm and persecution.The Center for American Progress estimates that there are up to 40,000 noncitizen Cameroonians living in the United States—32,700 adults and 7,300 children—who could be made eligible for protection by a TPS designation. Given the worsening crisis in Cameroon, various Black immigrants' rights advocacy organizations such as Cameroon Advocacy Network, Haitian Bridge Alliance, and UndocuBlack Network—along with members of Congress—have been advocating to temporarily protect them from deportation. It is urgent that the U.S. government do so now and provide protection and stability for Cameroonian nationals living in the United States.

What the European Union and United States Need to Do to Address the Migration Crisis in Ukraine

March 1, 2022

As the United States and other countries formulate military and diplomatic responses to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they should also be focusing on how to protect the growing number of people who are being forcibly displaced because of the conflict. Since the invasion began, more than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine into nearby EU member states, including Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. That number will undoubtedly continue to rise.The number of people in Ukraine who are vulnerable to displacement ranges widely—from 1 million to 5 million—and could be the largest forcible displacement in Europe in the 21st century. This article provides recommendations for how the European Union and the United States can respond to this migration crisis.

How Japan and South Korea Can Contribute to an International Response to a Russian Invasion of Ukraine

February 17, 2022

As Russia masses its forces on Ukraine's borders in preparation for a possible invasion of its neighbor, the Biden administration has been working to assemble an international coalition to deliver a swift and effective economic response to a Russian invasion. In the face of this global threat, the administration has been especially focused on its European allies, who are best positioned to aid Ukraine. However, the European allies are also dependent on Russian natural gas and therefore vulnerable to retaliation. Therefore, President Joe Biden and other senior officials have also focused their attention on major U.S. allies in Asia.Not only are U.S. allies in Asia critical nodes in global economic networks that could be major battlegrounds in the struggle with Russia—particularly since the Biden administration is considering applying export controls previously used against Huawei to deter Russia—but Japan and South Korea are also some of the world's most robust democracies. As the Biden administration seeks to mobilize democracies to counter attempts by Russia, China, and other authoritarian governments to undermine a rules-based international order, securing the active cooperation of Japan and South Korea would show that the right to self-government is what is at stake in Ukraine. If Russia is able to undermine Ukraine's fragile democracy and escape serious consequences, it will set a troubling precedent that could ultimately affect Asia's democracies.