Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

-James Baldwin

On behalf of the Violence Prevention Coalition, we want to wish you a very Happy New Year!

Together, we usher in the beginning of a new year filled with a profound sense of purpose, strategic visioning, and an unwavering hope for families and communities across our nation to live lives free from violence and harm.  We believe the work that we started in 2016 to develop our strategic plan will help us get to a place where violence-free living is possible, where we see hope and goodness and the best that we have to offer.

I cannot express enough the personal lessons I have learned from not paying close attention to the signs that tell us to step off the roller coaster a minute, read a book, call up an old friend, make a date for tea, and have a sit-down conversation with a young person without cell phones.  Every year, I make a point to do what is best and necessary for me to be my very best self. I spend time reading articles and books, conferring with friends and colleagues, and tuning out CNN and Fox News (As many can attest, the latter left me drained of all logic and inspiration). I thank God for life, and the care I receive from those closest to me.

So while it is time to renew and heal and to continue taking care of others, it is also crucial that we take care of ourselves.  This information is not new. We hear this message consistently when we travel: “in case of emergency, put your mask on first before helping others”; and when we visit a health clinic or doctor’s office: “how much do you exercise?”

This year, the VPC is dedicated to taking better care of ourselves and better care of each other.  We are CLEARING PATHWAYS TO HEALING AND WELLNESS.  We are moving in a direction that prepares us to engage in dialogue and bring out the very best in one another. Yes, we have business to attend, and as my mother never ceased in saying to my siblings and me, “handle your business, first.”  With a mindset that must focus on the business at hand, I believe there is a way to push forward toward the world we want to see and create.

Our goal is to unite local citizens around the intersectionality of violence, ranging from crime, proper land use strategies, implementing restorative justice programs, and creating projects that uplift communities. Our strategy to achieving this goal is to become better listeners, encourage dialogue and conversations that ensure communities are heard, and identify solutions that are culturally relevant and responsive to individuals and families within the greater Los Angeles region.  We are uniting people to work together to solve social problems and make the world a better place.

Our community organizing will focus on identifying and bringing forth solutions that improve the quality of care for individuals and families.  We believe this is also an opportunity to help service providers build their capacity to serve individuals and families represented in social systems through education, expanding networks and facilitating conversations.  We believe civic engagement and accountability will bring about meaningful changes in the lives of people and will strengthen vulnerable and oppressed populations.  Our devotion to this purpose will drive our mission to build, unify and strengthen our collective efforts.

VPC specializes in bringing groups and institutions together to work towards a common goal through collective action. Staff and advocates will be better trained to listen to people when they articulate their needs and concerns and voice their fears and challenges.  We will continue to focus on building social organizations, expanding our membership base, raising questions or alternative approaches, developing sound organizing strategies, recruiting leadership, assisting with fundraising, running member meetings, and facilitating training sessions.

It is an exciting time for the VPC as we recommit to making Los Angeles a safer place for all.  We are boldly celebrating the commencement of a New Year and entering an exciting era with focus, determination, and gratitude. As we face our fears and persevere together, we will find strength and hope unimaginable! The VPC is poised to move forward toward a bright future. We begin this New Year with purpose and commitment, realizing now, more than ever before, that we need each other.

Making the World A Better Place through Responsible Social and Civic Engagement

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