Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and the county’s health department have selected Kingdom Kare as the primary organization to implement a targeted antiviolence program in an Annapolis neighborhood.
Cure Violence Global is a violence interruption program guided by an understanding that violence is a health issue. Its mission is to reduce violence globally using disease control and behavior change methods, according to the program’s website.
Kingdom Kare, an Odenton-based nonprofit organization dedicated to early childhood education and family support, will collaborate with A Glimpse of Paradise to proactively address violence in the Eastport community. A Glimpse of Paradise specializes in youth mentoring, life coaching and community development.
“This is a significant step forward in the county’s commitment to enhancing public safety and promoting community well-being,” Pittman said in a press release. “The connections and expertise of these two organizations make them well-equipped to implement this important program.”
By getting involved with high-risk individuals and working to alter social norms, Cure Violence Global has demonstrated effectiveness in decreasing violence in various communities nationwide, according to the county’s news release. The program brings a comprehensive approach, integrating community engagement, mental health resources, education and employment opportunities to address the root causes contributing to violence.
“This partnership aligns with our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our community members,” Dr. Tonii Gedin, the county health officer, said in a statement. “By addressing violence as a public health issue, we will create lasting, positive change.”
In 2022, 13 people died in the county due to gun homicide and 15 others died by firearm-related suicide, according to the health department. Additionally, more than 100 individuals sought medical attention at county hospitals for gun injuries, and Anne Arundel had over 650 incidents of gun-related crimes, according to the Department of Health’s website.
During a hearing on public safety in October at the Harbour House community center, Eastport Terrace residents expressed concerns about violence in the neighborhood.
“Over the last six or seven years, this is the worst I’ve ever seen our community has started getting.,” said longtime resident Donna Johnson.
Another resident said they can’t walk their dog because bullets are flying left and right.
In August 2022, CVG carried out an evaluation involving the city of Annapolis, partners, stakeholders and community members in Annapolis neighborhoods. The assessment concluded that Annapolis was suitable for implementing a violence interruption program using the CVG model. The health department organized community listening sessions in Annapolis neighborhoods with elevated gun violence levels to gauge interest. Following this process, Eastport was chosen as the program’s target neighborhood.
Bishop Antonio Palmer, program manager of Kingdom Kare’s Violence Interruption Program, said, “We will empower individuals, strengthen community bonds, and create sustainable solutions that promote a safer and more resilient environment for residents in the Eastport community.”