Milwaukee's Blueprint for Peace is making a difference. Launched in 2018, the Blueprint is Milwaukee's first and only comprehensive violence prevention plan. Developed with the community, for the community, it takes a public health approach to preventing and reducing violence. We thank everyone that continues to contribute their time, talent, and commitment to advance the six goals and 30 strategies that comprise the Blueprint for Peace.
On Thursday, April 4, 2019 the Office of Violence Prevention launched 414 LIFE, a program that uses a public health approach to interrupting the transmission of conflict and retaliatory violence. The program engages community members with the credibility, courage, and commitment to intervene in the lives of those that are at highest risk for shooting or being shot. 414 LIFE is a partnership between the City of Milwaukee Health Department, Uniting Garden Homes, Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, Ascension Wisconsin, Children's Hospital's Project Ujima, and Cure Violence. This approach was called for by the community in Milwaukee's Blueprint for Peace.
As of September 1, 2019, the team has completed over 60 successful high-risk mediations that could have resulted in gun violence. These have included two incidents among groups of teens at local high schools. Since May of 2019 over 80 patients from Froedtert hospital have been referred to 414 LIFE. The average cost for in-patient care of a single gun shot survivor is $100,000. Since its launch 414 LIFE has potentially saved the community over $3.5 million in health care costs in 6 months.
Hospitals are critical partners in violence prevention, intervention, and recovery. Programs like Project Ujima at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin have been supporting youth survivors of violent injury in Milwaukee and their families for over a decade. Nationally, hospitals have increased their commitment to engaging in efforts to prevent and reduce intentional injury and homicide. 414 LIFE recognizes that there is a unique window of opportunity to make contact and effectively engage with victims of violent injury while they are recovering in the trauma center or hospital.
Last summer Ignite Change facilitated a youth engagement class for UniteMKE during a summer youth development program designed to inspire, empower and equip youth to tell stories that promote health. Over 2 dozen teenagers who participated in the class were asked, “What issue in Milwaukee impacts you the most?” The teens were unanimous and clear in their answer. "Carjacking." Two months later Running Rebels teenagers from the “Be the Change” program funded by the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention, echoed the sentiment. Ignite Change donated over 200 hours of planning and production time to the youth-led “Jack a Car, Jack Up Your Life,” carjacking prevention campaign. The campaign is designed to be a wake-up call from the perspective of friends, families, and first responders impacted by carjacking, high-speed chases and reckless driving
National recording artist, philanthropist, and social innovator Nipsey Hussle was murdered days before a scheduled meeting with the LA Police Department to discuss gun violence prevention. He requested the meeting with LA Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff. His murder was another tragic reminder that gun violence impacts everyone regardless of fame, fortune, race, gender, religion, etc. It also sparked a national outcry to carry-on his example of transforming his neighborhood through community-owned businesses and social enterprise. As reported by NBC News, Hussle invested in Vector 90, a co-working space in South Central Los Angeles, where young people can take classes in science, technology and mathematics. He described the center as a "bridge between Silicon Valley and the inner city." At last year's Afrotech conference, Hussle said that he hoped to expand the program to other cities, such as Atlanta, Washington and Baltimore.
The Marathon continues.
This spring we launched a program called Style and Substance focused on training barbers, stylists, and other personal care technicians in mental health and trauma prevention. This training is designed to provide stylists with the awareness to understand and respond appropriately to someone experiencing a mental health crisis. They are also trained to make proper referrals for mental health and other services including housing, food, and other basic needs that impact many in our community. We plan to expand this training to bartenders, taxi drivers, and other sectors of our community who regularly serve the public. This effort is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ReCast Initiative.
This year, Mayor Tom Barrett and Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) joined forces to raise awareness about the importance of sexual assault prevention in Milwaukee. They called on all Milwaukee residents to wear jeans on Wednesday, April 24, as a sign of support for local survivors of sexual assault. The effort was a part of the eighth annual Denim Day Milwaukee.
“Every person in our community has the power to end sexual violence,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. "Milwaukee remains dedicated in our efforts to continue the conversation, raise awareness of this issue, and involve all segments of our community in putting an end to sexual violence.”
Denim Day Milwaukee is part of an international awareness day that began after an Italian woman was raped by her driving instructor. The instructor was convicted, but the sentence was overturned after a court determined that because the victim wore tight jeans and may have helped remove them, the attack on her was consensual sex. The verdict motivated women in the Italian Parliament to wear jeans in solidarity with the victim. The movement has now spread into an international awareness day during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.