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Interpersonal Violence

WHEREAS, The World Health Organization defines Interpersonal Violence as the intentional use of physical force or power against other persons by an individual or small group of individuals, use of such force or power may be physical, sexual, or psychological (also called emotional violence), and may involve deprivation and neglect; and

WHEREAS, Community violence occurs among individuals who are not related by family ties but who may know each other, including youth violence, bullying, assault, rape or sexual assault by acquaintances or strangers, and violence that occurs in institutional settings such as schools, workplaces, and prisons; and

WHEREAS, Black homicide rates are seven to eight times those of whites, although Black Americans have a rate of poverty only four to five times that of whites; and

WHEREAS, Gun violence has a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities and is highly concentrated in a relatively small number of neighborhoods that have historically been under-resourced and racially segregated; and

WHEREAS, gun violence often results from the intersection of political and social determinants such as weak gun laws and proliferation of weapons; systemic racial inequities, including unequal access to jobs and economic opportunity; the absence of safe housing, inadequate educational systems, and employment opportunities; decades-long disinvestment in public infrastructure; and the absence of healthcare and mental health services in communities of color most affected by gun violence; and

WHEREAS, The earliest modern references to "Black-on-Black crime" came from Black media, notably "Ebony" magazine in 1979, the first commercially successful Black-owned magazine focusing on the African-American community that featured an article about "Black-on-Black crime", providing: "Although the Black community is not responsible for the external conditions that systematically create breeding grounds for crime, the community has the responsibility of doing what it can to attack the problem from within"; and

WHEREAS, White supremacists frequently engage in disinformation campaigns to manipulate crime statistics in order to claim that nonwhite minorities, particularly Black Americans, are far more crime-prone and the source of most violent crime against whites.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NAACP in partnership with Brookings and UC Berkley Othering and Belonging Institute and others will convene a collaborative think tank on the causes of community and interpersonal violence within Black communities and develop targeted solutions to prevent and interrupt community and interpersonal violence and change the negative narrative surrounding the terminology "Black on Black crime" to emphasize the social and political determinants that create conditions in which community and interpersonal violence is present.