Zero Youth Detention launching the Regional Peacekeepers Collective, June 4th with two public in-person events

Zero Youth Detention launching the Regional Peacekeepers Collective, June 4th with two public in-person events

King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Board of Health have declared June 4th, 2021 as King County Regional Community Safety and Well-being Day in recognition of the rising rates of gun violence in this region and establishment of a pilot program called the King County Regional Peacekeepers Collective (RPKC)

By: Alexandra de Leon Date: June 1st, 2021

King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Board of Health have declared June 4th, 2021 as King County Regional Community Safety and Well-being Day in recognition of the rising rates of gun violence in this region and establishment of a pilot program called the King County Regional Peacekeepers Collective (RPKC).

To commemorate the declarations and launch, the RPKC is hosting two community events to increase awareness of the program and provide community-based solutions to help stop gun violence. The public and members of the media are welcome to attend:

  • Skyway Community Lock Box Giveaway
    10:00 am to 12:00 pm | Grocery Outlet Parking Lot
    11656 68th Avenue S. Seattle, WA 98178

    Confirmed speakers include:

    • King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay
    • Choose 180 Founder Sean Goode
    • Zero Youth Detention Director Derrick Wheeler-Smith
    • Regional Peacekeepers Collective Program Manager Willard Jimerson Jr.
  • Kent Community Lock Box Giveaway
    2:00 pm to 4:00 pm | Kent City Hall Courtyard (Walkway)
    220 4th Ave S., Kent, WA 98032

    Confirmed speakers include:

    • City of Kent Mayor Dana Ralph
    • King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove
    • An Assistant Kent Police Chief, TBA
    • St. Vincent de Paul David Lujano
    • Zero Youth Detention Director Derrick Wheeler-Smith
    • Regional Peacekeepers Collective Program Manager Willard Jimerson Jr.

King County Community Safety & Well-being Day Declarations:

King County Firearm Data:

Like COVID-19, youth gun violence is a fatal epidemic. It is clear from the data that community-based gun violence and firearm related homicide has continued to rise over the past several years (2017-2020).

In 2021, King County is on course to set another deadly record for gun violence. Black, LatinX, and Indigenous young people in King County are disproportionately being exposed to gun violence, not just as perpetrators, but as victims and bystanders as well.

According to King County PAO Q1 2021 “Shots Fired” data:

  • The total number of shots fired incidents in Q1 2021 (253) was up around 25% and the number of overall shooting victims (69) was up around 27% from the four-year average for Q1 2017-2020.
  • In Q1 2021 the number of fatal firearm homicide victims was up 36% while the number of non-fatal firearm injury victims was up 24% over the four-year average.
  • Of the 69 firearm shooting victims in Q1 2021, 80% were male; 42% were between the ages of 18-24; and 78% were people of color.
  • Black/ African American residents in King County are only 6.8% of the total population. Nevertheless, Black/ African American’s are the highest represented demographic, approximately 50%, for firearm homicide victims.
  • Firearm homicide rates are highest among Black, LatinX, and Indigenous males ages 18–24 in King County.

About the Regional Peacekeepers Collective:

Zero Youth Detention (ZYD) is undergoing a 12 to 18-month planning process with community to co-develop a sustainable King County Regional Community Safety & Well-being Plan (RCSWP) to reduce firearm-related homicide and violence in this region.

While in the planning and development of a long-term regional plan, Zero Youth Detention is also doing the work to prevent the most at-risk young people in this region from dying tonight.

There is an immediate need for a responsive “Go-First” strategy to actively address the current increase in gun violence and homicides. King County is launching the Regional Peacekeepers Collective to deliver supports and provide services for highest-risk young people and families impacted most.

The RPKC addresses violence using a public health approach that ensures the treatment and recovery of all people involved.

The RPKC Partners include: Alive & Free, Choose180, Community Passageways, Freedom Project, Progress Pushers, Renegades for Life Youth Outreach, and UW Harborview Medical Center.

Effective community violence interventionprevention, and restoration (IPR) efforts that specifically serve youth are most successful when they provide wrap-around services and coordinated care. Under the unique banner of IPR, the Regional Peacekeepers Collective partners will organize collaboratively to provide:

  • Rigorous intervention for those directly involved
  • Secondary prevention for younger siblings
  • Follow-up care and support for family restoration and healing

To learn more about the Regional Peacekeepers Collective and Regional Community Safety and Well-being Plan, go to: https://zeroyouthdetention.com/communitysafety.

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