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Community Conversation: Violence and Communal Trauma; How Do We Respond?

Gun Violence is a uniquely American public health crisis, and our communities in the Commonwealth are no exception to this crisis. Brockton is one of several municipalities in the Commonwealth to have witnessed an increase in shootings in the aftermath of 2020. This year alone the City of Brockton has had 6 fatal instances of gun violence, and several non-fatal shootings. Alongside this, we must remember the ripple effect of trauma and the lasting impact this violence has on survivors and the community’s livelihood.

The Coalition’s Director of Organizing Angelica and Intern Haley have worked closely with Brockton-based grassroots organizations `Youth SOL, Cape Verdean Women United, and Sabura Youth Programs Inc. to mourn the loss of every Brocktonian due to gun violence and embark on a series of actions against this crisis. On Monday, October 16th, our collective hosted an event titled Community Conversation: Violence and Communal Trauma; How Do We Respond? at the Brockton Public Library to hold space for this much-needed dialogue.

The conversations centered around the impact of gun violence on individuals within the community, how their lives have been altered by such experiences, their emotions regarding the overall state of gun violence, and a range of related topics. During these discussions, participants highlighted several poignant insights. One individual voiced the sentiment that “they don’t want us to thrive,” emphasizing the challenges faced by the community. Furthermore, the consensus emerged that Brockton’s gun violence issue was not isolated to the city but a wider problem afflicting many areas, and people were too desensitized by violence. A notable aspect of the conversation was the connection the youth organizer drew between issues at Brockton High School and increased incidents of violent outbursts among their peers. Participants disclosed how understaffed schools, with a lack of teachers and substitutes, often led to students being left without classes throughout the day. Additionally, the presence of programs aimed at student success was noted but went largely unnoticed due to inadequate promotion.

Moreover, participants lamented the absence of recreational opportunities for children and teenagers in the area, leaving them with limited alternatives to violence. We know that when our young people have what they need to be safe and well the outcomes will be reflective. Our collective intends to agitate for change until this is our reality!


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