As part of our ongoing commitment to advocating for gun violence prevention, Levi Strauss & Co. is proud to announce the 2020 Safer Tomorrow Fund grant recipients. We are focusing on organizations that were born from and work closely with underserved communities of color disproportionately affected by gun violence.
While these decisions were made before the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath, what we’re seeing in so many cities around the country underscores the urgent need to support these communities and organizations. Black Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to be murdered with a gun, and unarmed Black civilians are nearly five times more likely to be shot and killed by police than unarmed white civilians. And yet when it comes to advocacy, Black and Brown communities are too often left out of the conversation about how to find and lead credible solutions.
By supporting these organizations, elevating the stories of young people and grassroots programs implementing successful interventions, and funding nonprofits that are using digital tools and platforms to empower youth activists, we believe we can further the Safer Tomorrow Fund’s goal of countering the gun violence epidemic in this country and making communities around the nation safer.
“Young people are not simply victims of gun violence in this country, they are leading the movement to end the epidemic and address the root causes that give rise to it,” says Brent J. Cohen, the Executive Director of Generation Progress, one of the grantees. “In light of recent events, this work is more important than ever and we need young people from all walks of life to come to the table and demand change.”
Three of the grantees are new, while two have been grant partners of the Safer Tomorrow Fund in the past. Each has demonstrated an ability to develop innovative approaches and deliver measurable impact. We will be highlighting each of these organizations in greater depth in the coming weeks, but for now, they are as follows:
Cities United: A national movement focused on eliminating violence in American cities related to Black men and boys, Cities United works with mayors, youth and other local leaders to create communities that are safe, healthy and hopeful. LS&Co. will support the Cities United Roadmap Academy and a bi-weekly podcast that will highlight the incredible work being done on the ground.
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. Partnering with LS&Co., GP will launch digital organizing campaigns, including social media ads and online action tools, to build a robust and engaged online network of young advocates taking meaningful action to end gun violence. GP will also continue investing in the #Fight4AFuture Network, elevating experiences of young advocates who have been directly impacted by gun violence.
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. In 2020 and beyond, with the support of LS&Co., Giffords will expand that work, increasing state and federal investments in CVI programs and engaging nationally about best practices in cities and other locales impacted by gun violence.
LIVE FREE and the Black Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium: A movement of interfaith organizations and congregations committed to addressing the causes of pervasive violence and crime in communities of color, LIVE FREE is also a founding member of the Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium (BBGVPC), which works to scale strategies that reduce urban gun violence in high-risk communities. With LS&Co.’s continued support, LIVE FREE will train youth impacted by gun violence on successful gun violence reduction strategies.
Youth Over Guns: The youth advocacy arm of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Youth Over Guns builds youth power in marginalized communities throughout the nation and encourages legislative advocacy to prevent gun violence. With LS&Co.’s support, they are launching its Anger to Advocacy program, a peer-led training and community outreach program designed to mobilize youth of color to speak out for holistic solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic.
Describing what it means to his organization, Luis Hernandez, Executive Director of Youth Over Guns, says, “This grant will allow us to train aspiring youth activists and empower Black and Brown youth who bear the brunt of structural inequities to be the agents of change needed to take on the dual threat of gun violence and COVID-19. These two public health crises in tandem have created a recipe for disaster in communities of color, but through Anger to Advocacy we will identify solutions and lead a platform that will prioritize safety and equity for young people now and in the future.”
Gun violence is a pandemic in America with no end in sight. We are proud to be working with these grantees and look forward to lifting up their work.