LAST YEAR, Milwaukee broke a heartbreaking record. 189 homicides. In nearly all of the cases, a gun was used. In the May issue of Milwaukee Magazine, we shared the stories of members of the community whose lives have been touched by gun violence. If you want to help be a part of the solution, consider supporting one of these local groups that are working to halt gun violence in our community and beyond:
414 Life came up with the Milwaukee Blueprint for Peace, which is a plan that takes a public health angle on approaching community violence. This is a government-run initiative that takes input from the community on how to best approach these issues. It focuses on preventing the violence before it occurs and intervention after it occurs to lower the effects.
WAVE is a grassroots organization that focuses on education to prevent gun violence. It provides resources to learn about what laws work in other states and how they can be applied to Wisconsin, along with data-driven research to show the impact of gun-violence. WAVE authored No More Broken Hearts, which are notes to elected officials asking them to support gun control proposals.
MAGV is a community origination that holds events, such as block parties, to raise awareness of gun violence. The group’s signature effort so far has been the 2007 Responsible Gun Ownership Bill to enact background checks to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands, but it was shot down by the state Legislature. Now MAGV is collecting interviews from victims of gun violence to show it is an issue that touches everyone.
Urban Underground is an organization that uses youth leadership development programs to uplift young people and provide the tools needed to have a bright future. It says that 98% of the teens that finished its program earned their high school diploma or equivalent, 85% enrolled in college and 92% said they signed a petition, volunteered or voted in the 12 months after the program.
EXPO does work to end mass incarceration, get rid of discrimination against ex-incarcerated peoples and immerse them back into society as productive members of the community. In other words, set them up to help prevent the need to go back to criminal activity due to desperation. EXPO is a project of WISDOM, which is an organization that connects religious communities to help bring social equity to ex-incarcerated peoples. Its goal is to prevent future crimes, including gun violence, from recurring.
I Will Not Die Young is a campaign which seeks to help at-risk youth by giving them their own agency and self-appreciation. Flood the Hood With Dreams was a series of events hosted by Milwaukee College Prep, to initiate change and to recognize the positive steps towards building a strong community. They also organized several marches, conflict resolution trainings and youth rallies to help raise awareness and prevent violent crime. Both are managed in conjunction with one another.
MDAGSA is an organization that focuses specifically on gun reform by promoting candidates for public office who support that mission. It’s a national organization that believes gun violence is preventable and wants to pass stronger gun laws to promote responsible gun ownership, but there are also localized chapters, including one in Milwaukee. The organization currently has over 6 million supporters of its mission.
WCGS is a new organization that uses community engagement to reduce gun violence by focusing on policy reform and political collaboration. The coalition has held rallies and advocated for Extreme Risk Protection Orders (EROs) to prevent those who are a danger to themselves or others from keeping a gun.