Recent Streetsblog LA posts about Community Violence Project
This page will serve as the home for a series of articles written about the effects of pervasive community violence on the health and well-being of both individuals and the community of Watts as a whole. The series, produced as part of a Health Journalism Fellowship with the California Endowment and the Annenberg School of Journalism at USC, hopes to help shed light on how and why it is both such a challenge for even the most resilient of residents to transcend their circumstances and so difficult for young men to keep their distance from gangs or the “fast life.” The series begins with a look at how community violence – various forms of violence that play out in both public and private spaces and that impact people’s sense of well-being, safety, security, mobility, and capacity to cope – can have more far-reaching consequences than the one-off mass shootings we tend to focus on. The next two look at how youth navigate living in a stressful environment — either by joining gangs or staying as removed from them as possible — and the high costs of both those decisions. The fourth examines how these struggles are compounded by economic challenges, what kinds of informal activities kids engage in to get by and why, and how easily a single negative work experience or encounter with law enforcement can completely upend their futures. The last two look at current initiatives underway in Watts. One explores, among other things, the LAPD’s work with HACLA and the Advancement Project on a Community Safety Partnership. The other will look at community-based solutions like Los Ryderz bike club, and why simple approaches that help youth redefine their relationship to the public space and their community can sometimes be the most powerful.