Mothers and families of gun violence victims provided a safe place to heal.
West Palm Beach, FL (December 4, 2018)
– The City of West Palm Beach Mayor’s Village Initiative (MVI) in conjunction with Healthier Neighbors and other community partners, hosted their first Community Healing Gathering on Saturday, December 1st
, at the Salvation Army Northwest Community Center. Mothers and families of gun violence victims, community members, and local officers from West Palm Beach and throughout Palm Beach County were invited to attend. Attendees were offered the option to express themselves through stations catering to their individual needs, and they were supplied coping tools to use throughout their healing
The event began with a private healing circle and libation ceremony for mothers and families. This portion of the event offered a safe place for attendees to express themselves and their experiences with loss in an intimate setting. Personal testimonies were given, and onsite counselors and clergy members were available to offer support. A family reunion style gathering kicked off immediately following. The second portion of the event included a prayer room, interactive community art, yoga, dance, meditation, journaling, painting, and a drumming circle to name a few. Healthy food options and music were also provided. "In most instances family members continue to move forward in
spite of their loss. We wanted to create a space where both family and community members could collectively come together and share their hearts.
In addition to that, it was our goal to offer different techniques that may assist them in their healing process.," said Kevin Jones, Coordinator of Community Initiatives, West Palm Beach Mayor's Office.
The Community Healing Gathering was made possible through MVI which focuses on the plight of African American boys and young men. The goal of the initiative is to prevent and reduce youth violence and to improve the outcomes of African American boys and young men in targeted areas of the city. The “village” consists of government agencies, businesses, concerned citizens, the faith community, non-profits, philanthropy, and schools.
For more information, or to learn about the Mayor’s Village Initiative contact Kevin Jones, 561-822-1413 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mayor’s Village Initiative is part of the national initiative Cities United, a growing, national network of more than 120 mayors working to cut the homicide rate affecting young African American men and boys in half by the year 2025. In 2013, Mayor Jeri Muoio committed to developing a plan to reduce violence related deaths among young African American males in West Palm Beach. Mayor Muoio’s first step was to appoint community advocate, Kevin Jones, Coordinator of Community Initiatives, to lead the Mayor’s Village Initiative. In 2014, Mayor Muoio and Kevin Jones attended the first Cities United convening in New Orleans. Ever since, the Mayor’s Village Initiative has been hard at work to build out the scope of the work.
In 2018, Kevin Jones and Ricky Aiken, Executive Director of Inner City Innovators, participated in Cities United’s first annual Roadmap to Safe, Healthy and Hopeful Communities Academy. They returned with strategies to counter violence and establish safer, healthier, and more hopeful communities.