Newsletter: Saving Lives by Interrupting Violence
Saving Lives by Interrupting Violence
Tragically, the District has seen a spike in gun-related violence over the past few weeks that has raised the number of gun fatalities to over 90 this year. Any gun-related death in the District is unacceptable, but it is particularly heartbreaking when the victim is a child. Our community is right to be outraged that innocent children like 11-year-old Karon Brown or 17-year-old Ahkii Washington-Scruggs were among those whose lives were cut short by guns over the past few weeks. No child should have to live in fear of gun violence and no family should have to mourn the death of their child.
To reduce this violence, we must continue to build upon our citywide public safety efforts. In August 2018, OAG launched our Cure the Streets (CTS) violence interruption program in two sites in Wards 5 and 8. This program uses proven public-health strategies that treat violence like a disease that can be interrupted, treated, and stopped from spreading. Along with the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement’s violence interruption program, local, credible individuals with deep ties to their neighborhoods called “violence interrupters” work to de-escalate violent situations and prevent crime before it occurs.
The D.C. Council has allocated more money for Cure the Streets and we will be expanding to other sites this fall. As we expand this work to other parts of the city with high rates of gun violence, we invite residents and community-based organizations to help us enhance public safety. You can learn more about the Cure the Streets program, its 2019 expansion, and opportunities for community members to get involved by attending one of our upcoming meetings:
Community meetings to learn more about Cure the Streets:
- Thursday, August 1 from 6:00 PM to 7:30PM at Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library (5401 South Dakota Ave. NE)
- Friday, August 2nd from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM at Martha's Table (2375 Elvans Rd. SE)
- Monday, August 5th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Capitol View Neighborhood Library (5001 Central Ave. SE)
Grant support workshops for organizations looking to partner on Cure the Streets:
- Monday, August 12th from 3:30 PM to 5:00PM at Martha's Table (2375 Elvans Rd. SE)
- Thursday, August 15th from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM at One Judiciary Square, Conference Room 1117 (441 4th NW, 11th Floor North)
The District is stronger when we all work together on solutions to make it safer. I look forward to working with District residents and community-based organizations to continue the important work of violence interruption.
Karl A. Racine
Aug 8: Join Us to Honor Inspiring Youth at the Right Direction Awards
On Thursday, August 8, OAG will celebrate its 5th Annual Attorney General’s Right Direction Awards, an annual celebration to honor District youth who have overcome significant challenges and are positively affecting our community. The theme for this year’s awards ceremony is “Real Influencers of D.C.” OAG chose this theme because just as social media “influencers” can affect decision making for their followers, AG Racine wishes to celebrate youth who are a positive influence in their communities. RSVP to attend and help us honor these well-deserving young people in D.C.
Securing Relief for Consumers Affected by Equifax 2017 Data Breach
Last week, AG Racine announced a historic $600 million multistate settlement with Equifax over its 2017 data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 350,000 District residents and nearly half of the US population. Under this settlement, Equifax is required to provide $425 million in consumer restitution, strengthen security practices, provide 10 years of free credit monitoring, and assist consumers in preventing or recovering from identity theft. Consumers affected by the data breach can learn more about the settlement, check their eligibility to file a claim, and file a claim on the Equifax Breach Settlement online registry at www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com or call 1-833-759-2982.
Launching OAG’s High School Advisory Council
Earlier this summer, OAG launched its High School Advisory Council (HSAC), a new initiative designed for youth to learn advocacy and policymaking and to inform OAG’s work. The inaugural class of nine teenagers began this yearlong program with a two-week summer “bootcamp” on June 15, meeting with OAG leadership, attending educational events, touring local courthouses, and more. HSAC members will have opportunities throughout the school year to meet with AG Racine to discuss policy recommendations on important issues and put their summer training to use. Learn more.
Standing Up for Civil Rights
Good news for District residents last week as OAG secured a preliminary injunction stopping Curtis Investment Group, the landlord of several apartment buildings in Wards 7 and 8, from discriminating against renters who use housing vouchers. The landlord will have to stop using language in online rental ads like "not accepting vouchers at this time,” which is illegal. This is an early victory for the newly launched Civil Rights Section, which is also out in the community hearing from residents about their experiences with discrimination and civil rights issues that matter to them. If you weren’t able to attend a civil rights listening session, you can submit your input or report any discrimination to OAG by calling (202) 727-3400, emailing OAGCivilRights@dc.gov, or filing a complaint online.
Protecting Consumers of Cannabis-Derived Products
AG Racine is leading a coalition of 37 states in calling for research into the risks and benefits of cannabis-derived products to protect consumers from false advertising and potential harms to their health. While cannabis-derived products may benefit some consumers, there are unanswered questions about the effects of these products and whether they are being manufactured safely. The multistate coalition is urging the Food and Drug Administration to take a close look and work with states on oversight for this emerging market. Learn more.
Defending Common-Sense Gun Regulations
Ten states and the District of Columbia ban large-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. These magazines are attractive to mass shooters because they can kill and injure large numbers of people quickly, and banning them can help prevent the kind of devastating mass shootings that are plaguing our country. Last week, AG Racine led an 18-state coalition in support of California’s ban on large-capacity magazines that can reduce firearm injuries and save lives. In a court brief, the coalition argues that states have a responsibility to enact common-sense gun safety laws that protect public safety, and the Second Amendment allows it. Learn more.
Getting D.C. Youth Job-Ready
Last week, AG Racine participated in the launch of a new partnership between McDonald’s and several D.C. community-based organizations investing in a local youth pre-employment training program here in the District. The pilot program aims to invest $200,000 and reach 1,000 young people in D.C. to teach them valuable soft skills such as self-awareness and management, communication skills, healthy relationship building, and conflict management, in order to set them up for success and job opportunities. AG Racine was on hand to celebrate this investment and challenge other businesses to develop similar programs that can support District youth.