The Anti-Violence Campaign is an ongoing project of the International Health & Epidemiology Research Center.  The Anti-Violence Campaign is a comprehensive violence prevention/intervention project that strives to eliminate mortality and  morbidity in children/youth. We do this by influencing children's learned responses at an early age. This campaign educates and raises awareness about the hazards of guns, toy guns/weapons, and violence among children, parents, and educators. This is done through presentations, workshops, letter writing, influencingtoy manufacturers and policy makers, media coverage, art exhibition (Replacing Violence with Art), and Anti-Violence Day events.  At the events,children turn in their toy guns/weapons, and instead, create a piece of art with the collected weapons.


Problem: Violence is a social disease which has now reached its epidemic iceberg, and is becoming the # 1 public health problem. Violence, especially gun violence, is killing more children than many diseases combined. Violence is the most important issue facing our children andyouth today in the U.S., and the target age group for violence is getting younger everyday.

The U.S. ranks tremendously behind many other industrialized nations not only in regards to infant mortality and number of uninsured, but also in violence, homicide and especially gun violence, few statistics are givenbelow:

 * * *Considering the facts that :
*  *  *  *  *  *        Based on the facts given above,The International Health & Epidemiology Research Center, a non profitorganization, was founded in 1994 by Dr. Farideh Kioumehr to promote publichealth and prevent disease through research, education and intervention. She founded the ANTI-VIOLENCE CAMPAIGN in 1995, and devoted her time voluntarily,to address a growing social epidemic affecting children throughout thecountry: violence, and killing involving real and toy guns.  Thisproject was created in response to the staggering exponential growth ofviolence involving children and guns.  The project serves childrenages 2 to 14 throughout California, from different ethnic and culturalbackgrounds, representing the rich diversity of the larger community, andplans to expand to cover the entire nation, and hopefully the world.

PURPOSE: The ultimate goal of the ANTI-VIOLENCE CAMPAIGN is tocreate a healthier, violence free society for future generations:

        Short term:

        Long Term:

Children /youths, their families, educators, professionals, communityleaders and the general population, with priority given to minorities,and those most vulnerable, in undeserved, un/underinsured, and gang infestedareas.


Public/private schools/districts, different communities & organizations,health departments, churches, children museums, etc.


Providing education, raising awareness, and conducting the "Anti-ViolenceDay" Events, presentations, workshops, distribution of educational materials,petitions, influencing policy makers, letter writing, and through the mediaand art displays by:


Toy weapons are increasingly being used to commit real crimes, and morechildren are being killed when a toy gun is mistaken for a real gun. Consider the following alarming facts about toy guns, crimes, and childrenbeing killed:

  1. On June 21, 1997, an entire terminal at Los Angeles International Airportwas evacuated, grounding at least 15 flights, when a cigarette lightershaped like a pistol was mistaken for a real gun.
  2. On March 1st, 1997, a 6 year-old boy's toy gun caused the evacuation ofthe  San Jose International Airport, in California.  More than20 flights were affected.
  3. On Memorial Day, May 29, 1995 in Carson Park, California, Freddy Palacio,a 12 year old, was shot twice by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputywho mistook the $2 toy gun for a .22 caliber pistol.
  4. On Sunday, April 2, 1995, in the City of Terrace, California, 18 year oldSantiago Lopez Garcia was shot to death by the police because he had acigarette lighter, which resembled a gun in his hand.
  5. On April 3, 1995, police almost shot at Robert Alvarez, a 28 year old man,in East L.A. because he had a lighter the shape of a semiautomatic pistol.He was arrested and charged with suspected brandishing of a firearm "ona public thoroughfare."
  6. In October of 1994, Nicholas Heyward Jr., a 13 year old boy, and straight> 
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    in the chest and killed by a policeofficer when he was playing with his toy gun.
  8. Jamiel Johnson, a 16 year old boy, was shot and wounded on the same day,and in the same city as above.
  9. In 1994, toy guns were reportedly used in 329 felonies in New York alone.
  10. In 1991, a 3 year old boy was shot and killed by his grandfather in NorthernCalifornia, while playing, and by mistake using his real gun instead ofhis grandson's toy gun.
  11. In 1987, Leonard Falcon, a 19 year old boy from Rancho Cucamonga was shotand killed by a San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy while playing withlaser tag gun, which resembled a real gun.
  12. In 1983, a 5 year old boy was shot and killed by an Orange County policeofficer because he was holding a toy gun.
  13. Studies show that most children younger than 8 can't reliably distinguisha toy gun from a real gun. (Ms., May/June 1994, Vol. IV, No. 6, P. 40-41).

    Through a community-based campaign, and a strongcollaboration with public and private schools, government agencies, communities,and non profit organizations, the International Health & EpidemiologyResearch Center is empowering educators, public, parents, and childrenwith essential information.  The campaign's vital message: guns arenot toys, and violence is not play; both real and toy firearms can kill.

     This innovative project has been carried outsuccessfully in many public/private schools/districts, different communities,public/private organizations, professional meetings, churches, and childrenmuseums throughout California.  It has also drawn national and internationalattention. The Anti-Violence Campaign  has directly served over 150,000children, parents, and professionals and has also indirectly  servedmillions, throughout the world, through media since its inception in April1995.

 Anti-Violence Day Events:

    For the first time, we carried out this project very successfully on April 2, 1995 for a minority community. Then, in severalprivate schools  in April and May of the same year.  This projectalso took off, with great
success, in California  for the Hispanic/ Latino Community inPacoima on October 28, Monroe Complex of the Los Angeles Unified SchoolDistrict (LAUSD), including 15 schools, on October  21 in North Hills,and several centers of the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles on October 16-17 of 1995.  Then, due to its tremendous success and great demand,this project was carried out for the second time in  3 parks (in Northernand Southern California) for the Iranian community on March 3, the Jewishcommunity on April 14, Jordan/Lock Cluster of the LAUSD (including 25 schools),S. Central  Los Angeles, on May 18, Nickerson Garden Housing in Wattsarea (mostly African American  and a very low socioeconomic area)in Los Angeles on August 26, and in Santa Barbara, CA,  on December7, 1996.  Our most recent project was on April 6, 1997 for the
Iranian Community, in two parks in Irvine, Orange County (3rd Annual),in Chatsworth, California (2nd Annual), in  the San Fernando Valley,California and on April 10, 1997 at the Los Angeles Children Museum. incooperation with the Los Angeles County Health Department  Duringthese events, children turned in their toy gun/weapons, and instead usedthem to create a giant collage with an anti-violence message.  Thisart piece was kept at the Los Angeles Children Museum for two months forthe public to view.  Children who did not have a toy gun to turn inwere encouraged to write short stories or create art work about dangerof guns in society.  Each child who participated received a certificateand a "Say No to Toy Guns/Weapons" T-shirt as a reward.  The children,by wearing these T-shirts, could be "walking billboards" to help theircommunities; discouraging the use of violence and the violence objects. The families also learned the immediate danger imposed on their childrenby real, and toy guns.  These events were broadcasted nationally andinternationally.  One of the articles about this project, which appearedin the Los Angeles Times is enclosed.  Schools and communities indifferent states such as Oregon, Ohio, New York, and Florida have expressedgreat interest for carrying out this campaign/project.


    In addition, and prior to the Anti-Violence Day events,we have provided over 25 lectures, workshops, and presentations for parents,educators, community representatives, and at scientific meetings throughoutCalifornia.  The statistical analysis of questionnaire data supportthat over 90% of adult participants determined:

        - Replacing Violence With Art: We have successfully been able to involve well-known artists and art students,and they have created many professional works of art with anti-violencemessages with toy guns and weapons surrendered at events.  We arealso trying to encourage the schools and other institutions to put an emphasison the importance of replacing violence with art for their students, especiallyin their art classes.

Influencing Policy Makers and Educators:

We already have endorsements and support from the National School SafetyCenter, the Los Angeles Unified School District (board members, SafetyPlanning and Multicultural Education Committees), Claremont Graduate School,Physician For Social Responsibility, Los Angeles County Health Department,Los Angeles Children Museum, American Academy of Pediatrics, Iranian MedicalAssociation, Santa Barbara Women Against Gun Violence, Vice President AlGore, Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Hilda Solis,Councilman Alarcon, and Councilman Feuer, and many more.

Media :

Strong media coverage of each event, numerous newspaper articles, (copiesare available upon request), and extensive radio and television interviewswith Dr. Kioumehr have successfully augmented the ANTI-VIOLENCE CAMPAIGN'Smessage, and millions of people have been served in this way nationallyand even internationally.

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