The most recent youth shootings involved a 15-year-old in southeast Fresno on Nov. 15, and a 13-year-old boy from central Fresno on Nov. 24 — two areas highly impacted by gun violence. The city has seen a steep climb in gun violence this year with 63 homicides. Marcel Woodruff, lead organizer with Faith in the Valley, said the most active pockets of town are known to have some of the worst air quality in Fresno.
Andy Levine, deputy director of Faith in the Valley, said he was troubled by Hall’s claim that movement to re-imagine funding for the police is causing an uptick in violent crime. “That is just unprofessional,” Levine said. “The truth is the reason why violence occurs in our community is because we have funded so heavily the police departments in our city and our country at the expense of other, more pro-active things, in our community.”
Advance Peace is dedicated to ending cyclical and retaliatory gun violence in American urban neighborhoods.
Thousands of people in Fresno County are evicted from their homes every year. It’s a misconception that failing to pay rent is the only reason people are evicted, according to a study just released by the organization Faith in the Valley in partnership with Fresno State and Central California Legal Services.
Every year, thousands of households in Fresno County are evicted from their homes. Evictions are unfair, especially due to huge disparities in legal representation between tenants (1%) and landlords (73%).
Perhaps most alarming is the correlation that Matthew Desmond, Princeton sociologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” found between evictions and suicide among single mothers.
Aaron Foster is among those trying to provide a second option for Fresno’s most trigger-happy citizens. Its name is Advance Peace, a program for reducing gang-related gun violence that Mayor Lee Brand and the Fresno City Council must find a way to fit into the 2019-20 budget. In fact, I’d argue city leaders can’t afford not to.
Two years ago Aaron Foster reached out to Advance Peace, a nonprofit that has a controversial approach at reducing gun violence. Ever since then he’s been trying to get them to come to Fresno.
Since 2010, nearly a dozen social justice organizations have sprouted in Fresno, harnessing community power to spark change. These groups, many of which are led by educated women of color with deep Valley ties, have mobilized coalitions that stood up to local politicians, combated vicious attacks and emerged with political victories.
“Fortunately, one of the best ways that we have to counter this is our expressions of love, and here in the Fresno region and the Central Valley, it’s not hard. We have such a beautiful interfaith community that comes together both in wake of tragedy, but also just because we love each other," said Rabbi Rick Winer.