On average, there are more than 100 gun deaths each day in the U.S. and 38,000 each year. Men, women, and children are killed by acts of community violence, domestic violence, firearm suicide, mass shootings and law enforcement. In 2020, there were more than 600 mass shootings in the country, and homicides rose by 50% or more in over a dozen cities – symptoms of a worsening gun violence epidemic that continues to disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities.
Levi Strauss & Co. remains committed to supporting organizations that are addressing gun violence through advocacy and community violence intervention methodologies. They are also providing leadership development opportunities for young people of color, and fostering comprehensive and responsible methods of raising awareness around the issue. To that end, we are proud to announce our 2021 Safer Tomorrow Fund (STF) grantees, a group of organizations that were born from and work closely with communities of color.
“The gun violence epidemic has taken a disproportionate toll on Black and Brown communities throughout the country, with chilling statistics ballooning in already impacted communities over the past year,” said Luis Hernandez, Executive Director of Youth Over Guns. Black men make up 52% of all gun homicide victims in the U.S., for example, despite comprising less than 7% of the population, and unarmed Black civilians are nearly five times more likely to be shot and killed by police than unarmed white civilians (Giffords). “The COVID-19 pandemic and national uprisings in 2020 over the police violence directed at Black Americans put a spotlight on the racial injustice inherent in America’s gun violence epidemic, particularly it’s devastating effects on youth of color.”
Levi Strauss Safer Tomorrow Fund grantees include:
CITIES UNITED: A national movement focused on reducing the epidemic of homicides and shootings among young Black men and boys by working with mayors, city leads, young leaders and community partners to create safe, healthy and hopeful communities. The Cities United Roadmap Academy brings together city employees, community partners and young leaders to reimagine public safety and work collectively toward the development, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive public safety plans in their respective cities.
COMMUNITY JUSTICE ACTION FUND: Through a training program called BY DESIGN, Community Justice Action Fund (CJAF) works to transform the conversation about gun violence by focusing on the work, lives and expertise of people of color through public education and social content. INVEST IN US, a coalition led by CJAF, educates leaders and the general public about proactive solutions to make communicates of color safer. INVEST IN US is comprised of national and local gun violence prevention organizations committed to building advocacy support to fund evidence-based community solutions to gun violence, including homicide reduction, interpersonal violence, and suicide prevention.
GENERATION PROGRESS: Generation Progress (GP) is a national advocacy organization that promotes progressive solutions to the political and social issues that matter to young people between 18 and 35. GP’s digital organizing campaigns educate young people about the direct intersection of racial justice with gun violence prevention and voting rights and provide opportunities for easy and meaningful action.
GIFFORDS: COURAGE TO FIGHT GUN VIOLENCE: Since 2016, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence has focused on using policy mechanisms to scale evidence-based Community Violence Intervention (CVI) programs nationally. Giffords is increasing its commitment to Community Violence Intervention and prevention strategies supporting effective programs serving the primarily Black and Brown communities disproportionately impacted by gun violence.
LIVE FREE: LIVE FREE is a movement of interfaith groups committed to stemming the causes of violence in communities of color. LIVE FREE invests in proven strategies grounded in public health and community violence prevention programs, aiming to reduce gun violence without having to grow police engagement.
THE TRACE: The Trace is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to shining a light on America’s gun violence crisis. Their “Local Reporting Network” will cover gun violence and prevention efforts in the hardest-hit cities, collaborate with local newsrooms, and shift the narrative from sensational and superficial reporting to focus on the survivors, the solutions, and the communities most impacted.
YOUTH OVER GUNS: Youth Over Guns’ “Anger to Advocacy” Activist Incubator engages youth of color to become leaders in the fight for safety and justice. The program, launched in October 2020, is a youth-driven peer-to-peer education and training fellowship grounded in the understanding that anger over lived experiences and injustice merged with easy access to guns is a deadly combination. The program empowers marginalized youth to tap into their anger and channel it to effectively advocate to prevent gun violence and its root causes.
“LS&Co. has long demonstrated its commitment to saving lives by working to end gun violence in America, and Giffords has been proud to call LS&Co. a partner,” said Peter Ambler, Giffords Co-Founder & Executive Director. “Research proves that community violence intervention programs save lives. We’re grateful for the support of LS&Co. on this vital community centric work, especially at a time where gun homicides are increasing at such alarming rates.” We are proud to be supporting this diverse group of grantees who are working every day to curb the gun violence epidemic in the U.S.