Centuries of racist policies and practices have resulted in clustered racially segregated communities of color, where structural racism leads to high poverty, illegal enterprises, violence and despair. Numerous studies that have looked at the intersectionality of race and class and gun violence have clearly shown that there is some relationship between issues of racial segregation and issues of social and material deprivation.
YAP’s approach not only prevents imminent violence but begins to unthread the root causes of urban violence, such as social inequality, economic inequality and instability, the level of citizens’ trust in institutions. YAP has adapted the principles of our effective youth justice model by providing economic opportunities for credible messengers – people who live in neighborhoods with high rates of violence and in some cases, individuals who have returned to their communities after serving time in prison.
YAP’s violence interruption programs are in Baltimore, Dallas, Charlotte, and Washington DC. Further in Chicago, Choose to Change -- a partnership with Children’s Home & Aid -- has been shown to significantly reduce gun violence as measured in a randomized controlled trial study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab.