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.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:
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:
- California, Out of all50 states, has the highest rate of firearm deaths among children. California had the highest number of homicides and suicides killing children,and ranked second in accidental gun deaths. (Children's Defense FundAnnual Report, 1997) Guns are the number one cause of death for childrenunder 20 in California. (California Department of Health Services,Vital Statistics Report, 1993).
- Los Angeles is greatlyimpacted by this alarming epidemic. In 1991, 66% of all youth homicideswere gun related. (Los Angles County Sheriff's Department Report,1992) Possession of a weapon is the number one reason for expulsionreferrals in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Between 1993and 1996, 1287 students have been expelled for bringing a gun or knifeto school. (LAUSD reports, 1994 & 1996).
PURPOSE: The ultimate goal of the ANTI-VIOLENCE CAMPAIGN is tocreate a healthier, violence free society for future generations:
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.
SERVICES PROVIDED AND METHODS:
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:
FACT SHEET ABOUT TOY GUNS:
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:
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:
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.
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.