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Coalition Against Violence Presents Strategies to Involve Entire Community to Address Crime

The Coalition Against Violence (CAV) today called upon individuals, families, communities and institutions in Pittsburgh to take steps to combat crime and violence.

“Families and neighborhoods need to reinforce a strong sense of self, community and culture in our children,” said Tim Stevens, CAV co-convener, chairman of the Black Political Empowerment Project and past president of the NAACP Pittsburgh Branch. “Schools, community groups and faith communities, as well as government and social agencies, need to support our families and reach long-term solutions to the violence that damages so our society. That commitment must be an ongoing one.”

The CAV presented strategies to stem violence, tailoring techniques to every facet of the community, including professional athletes, youths, businesses, churches, educational institutions, foundations, health care systems, media and law enforcement.

Duquesne University President Charles J. Dougherty reflected on positive steps being taken to turn the tide of violence. For instance, the coalition has asked higher education to support efforts to break cyclical violence and improve economic well being by sponsoring forums, providing scholarships and initiating economic development training programs.

“Universities can play a critical role in educating leaders for the future and in supporting initiatives that back economic development,” Dougherty said. One example is Duquesne University’s efforts with the Hill House Economic Development Corporation and other community groups in establishing the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone, which is aimed at bringing skilled jobs to the area.

Besides seeking support from institutions, the coalition also called upon ordinary citizens to help reduce violence. “It is no secret that the violence in our communities is at a critical level,” said Esther L. Bush, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. “The CAV reminds us that, as citizens, we are powerful and influential enough to stop talking and start acting to make a marked difference.”

Valerie Dixon, co-convener of CAV and executive director of Prevent Another Crime Today, discussed the strength of people working together toward a solution to a long-standing problem and led a tribute to those who have lost their lives to violence.

“We have suffered too many heartaches from the violence that disturbs our lives and distracts us from our dreams,” Dixon said. “Parents must see themselves as the children’s first teachers and main role models. Neighbors and agencies must reinforce the idea that conflicts can be mediated. We hope these strategies can help to restore calm and greater prosperity to our neighborhoods.”

The CAV, a broad-based, independent coalition of community, religious, education and government leaders and residents, formed in direct response to a 2007 report that Pennsylvania led the nation in homicide rates among African Americans.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.