Pastor Curtis L. Smith has been named interim executive director of Faith in the Valley,…
We applaud the Biden Administration’s historic plan to invest $5 billion in evidence-based, community violence intervention programs over the next eight years. This is a visionary part of the just-announced American Jobs Plan, which prioritizes workforce training and development in underserved communities and would benefit our justice-involved youth and formerly incarcerated loved ones. On Wednesday, the White House released a fact sheet underscoring the Administration’s commitment to expand existing and proven efforts to deal with the root causes of violence-based trauma, creating space for directly impacted Black and Brown communities to heal and thrive.
As part of our organizing model, Faith in the Valley has built relationships with communities and young people who have been most impacted by generational trauma and violence. We believe they have the solutions necessary for our collective liberation. Faith in the Valley was instrumental in bringing the program Advance Peace to cities like Stockton and Fresno. Advance Peace works creatively and holistically to disrupt gun violence on a daily basis. As partners, we established this work with limited investment from local governments. Imagine what we could accomplish with our tax dollars if this fund was endorsed by Congress. Advance Peace and organizations like it would grow in reach and impact. Faith in the Valley grassroots leaders, organizers and impacted community members would be freed from the worry of “how long will this last?” and would instead be free to focus on building a peace that is firmly rooted.
As long as community violence persists, efforts to build back businesses, reopen schools, and revitalize our infrastructure in the wake of the pandemic, will be compromised. We must imagine a different Central Valley.