We know so well the rhetoric of our reaction to this violence.
We know to gather in concern. We’ve become familiar with the places and the customs of the gathering – the prayer, the song from the choir, the tableau of families embracing in the symmetry of the casket beneath the cross, young faces distorted in tears and sorrow quickly obscured in the embrace of shoulders and hands.
But we don’t know what to do beyond that. And the rituals will not answer for us. In our city, where we grieve in so many ways from a whisper to a scream, we still wonder...
– From an editorial in the Memphis Daily News 4/30/16
It’s time to address head on an issue that haunts so many of our communities and scars the fabric of their souls. The Center for Public Violence Recovery was founded to help those who have experienced outbreaks of public violence transform the fears that are entwined so deeply in their memories into hope for their lives and communities. Addressing the question of the Memphis editorial, the Center believes a restorative solution to community trauma must begin at the grassroots level with leadership from local religious and human services organizations.
Law enforcement and emergency responders follow established protocols designed to ensure public safety during incidents of public violence; but there are no protocols to guide the community and its response in the aftermath. What we see is misinformation, fragmented social services, unaddressed emotional trauma, a growing sense of hopelessness, and recurring cycles of violence.
The Center advocates a new approach: Restoring Hope: a Whole Community Framework. This Framework fills the current void by providing a more comprehensive approach that can mitigate the engulfing trauma caused by public violence, bring a new sense of hope, and restore community resilience.
The Center is collaborating with partners to develop resources and training materials, and sponsor national and regional forums to discuss how new roles and initiatives can improve community-based response to public violence. The Center's Website explains the Framework and will enable the formation of online communities to describe their experiences, discuss issues, share best practices, and post related research.
The Center for Public Violence Recovery is a program of the Village Life Company, a 501(c)(3) organization that, under the guidance of a national advisory council, has researched and developed public violence resilience and disaster response programs in collaboration with religious organizations and educational institutions since 1996.