While rates of violence are decreasing on average across Chicago, violence inequality is increasing (1). The declines in violence are experienced disproportionately in communities on the north side of the city, while many predominantly African-American or Latino communities on the south and west sides experienced steady or increased rates of violence in recent year (2). Because different communities, and different populations within them, perceive and experience violence differently, those differences must be recognized and understood to effectively prevent violence. Often violence prevention research is developed and carried out with little to no input from the people who live in the communities most affected by violence. The Community-Academic Collaboration to Prevent Violence in Chicago (CACPVC) enhances connections between academic, philanthropic, and community partners to build capacity to develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to reduce health disparities related to violence in Chicago.
A series of community meetings, including Open Community Forums and Organization Networking Gatherings, are being convened across the city to solicit input from residents, community organizations, researchers, and local funders about the role of research in preventing violence in their communities. The goal of this project is to identify the highest priorities of community residents to improve knowledge about violence in Chicago using community-based participatory research (CBPR). CBPR is an approach that involves all partners in the process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR focuses on a topic that's important to the community aiming to combine knowledge with action to achieve social change.
The project is guided by the direction of an Advisory Board comprised of representatives of community-based organizations, researchers, funders, and PhD students whose work and expertise focus on issues related to violence prevention in Chicago. Under the guidance of the Advisory Board, the CACPVC is holding meetings in seven community regions across the city in collaboration with a host organization in each region.
Using insight from community meetings, CACPVC will create a Community-Based Participatory Research agenda for violence prevention that reflects the diversity of Chicago neighborhoods and establish a permanent infrastructure to facilitate its implementation.
(2) Hertz, D. (2013) We've Talked About Homicide In Chicago At Least One Million Times But I Don't Think This Has Come Up. City Notes, Accessed: http://danielhertz.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/weve-talked-about-homicide-inchicago-at-least-one-million-times-but-i-dont-think-this-has-come-up/ on October 2, 2014.