Folks, gun violence is a problem. It’s a daily scourge that threatens everyone’s fundamental right: the right to life. Every day, on average, 316 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police intervention. A number of these gun victims are our valued youth.
The T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project out of Washington, DC., has taken a strong a principled stance to curb gun violence and have attacked the problem through education and opportunity. They are laser focused on understanding and addressing the reasons why our youth pick up guns and how to teach better conflict resolution.
Tia Bell, founder of the organization, started thinking of the need for the T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project when she young. “I almost lost my mother when I was 10 when she was shot twice, in broad daylight. I begged people I knew who solved problems with not to do it, not to retaliate. I started thinking even then about the true reason people grabbed the gun – which later inspired the name of the organization – T.R.I.G.G.E.R. stands for the True Reason I Grabbed the Gun Evolved from Risk.
After earning her Master’s degree in Youth Development from North Carolina State University, she started working as a school counselor, advocating on Capitol Hill and working on violence interruption with the White House. It was during this time the curriculum for the project was developed. Areas of emphasis targets growth, healing and gun-violence awareness.
The group is taking a new approach; one that requires listening. Not just to victims, but also to those who pulled the trigger.
“We need to no longer dismiss our shooters and the perpetrators and the 2% of the population who’s inflicting this pain – because there are reasons why they’re doing this,” Bell said. “If our opportunities and resources combat those reasons, we give them an alternative.”
It’s the heart of Bell’s philosophy: using a public health lens to find out what makes someone more likely to pick up a gun. These factors include exposure to violence, abuse and low economic opportunity, according to the C.D.C.
“A lot of us don’t want to use the gun, we have to, and we need to feel protected and we need to feel a sense of identity,” Bell said. “Some people may dismiss that message. But if you really break it down, you see that 400 years of oppression led to this moment.”
“We gotta build a condition that allows our people, young people of color form D.C., from every urban city who suffer post-traumatic stress, we have to allow them opportunity.”
Bounce is proud to highlight this important community organization and invites the Bounce community to find out more and get involved as well.
To learn more about the T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project, click HERE.
The T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project, Amnesty International, ABC 7 -Washington, DC, The Washington Informer, C-Span, CDC,