This past Thursday night Councilmember Jim Graham held a meeting in Columbia Heights to both spread the message of and discuss the report, “Responding to Gang, Crew and Youth Violence in the District of Columbia: A Blueprint For Action.” (The report is available online at the Healthy Families / Thriving Communites (HFTC) Collaborative Council website: for the PDF, click here.)
The meeting was hosted at the Highland Park Apartments by Owner Chris Donatelli and sponsored by, among other community groups, the Latino American Youth Center. Peacoholics and several other groups were in attendance as well. The report, originally released June 12th, was presented by co-authors, Dr. Jacquelyn Henry (HFTC Executive Director) and Richard Flintrop (HFTC Director of Policy and Planning).
While I have not had the opportunity to read the entire report yet, the presentation was nicely done, the speakers and audience were inspirational, and the meeting nicely brought together several community members (including a few teenage boys) to think and talk about future action and strategies for lessening violence in D.C. communities. The meeting brought together a nice diverse group of folks to talk about this D.C. issue. One nice interaction occurred when a representative from the Boys and Girls Club discussed a program model that they use that had become a national model, but at the same time this model wasn’t necessarily known somewhere else within D.C. From this discussion the community groups were encouraged to think about ways on how to better share such models. Above all else, I found it nice that the participants all had a very real concern for the children.
I enjoyed listening in on what HFTC has compiled and a brief reading of it suggests the authors put together a very informative report with some great ideas. For example, the report breaks down and defines the differences between a crew and a gang. As well, there are nice maps included that show the various locations and territories of the respective crews and gangs. Has anyone thoroughly read the report and care to comment on the findings or suggestions?