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Systems Working With LEE's to Reduce Gang Violence

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Gang violence is a complex and pervasive issue that has significant impacts on individuals, families, and communities. While there are many strategies that can be used to address this problem, one of the most important is to involve people with lived experience in developing and implementing solutions. In this article, we will explore the importance of systems working with people of lived experience to help reduce gang violence.

First, it is important to understand what we mean by “people of lived experience.” This term refers to individuals who have direct experience with gang violence, either as current or former gang members, or as people who have been impacted by gang violence in other ways, such as through family members or friends. These individuals have a unique perspective and understanding of the root causes of gang violence, as well as the most effective strategies for addressing it.

One of the main reasons why it is important to involve people of lived experience in efforts to reduce gang violence is that they are often best positioned to reach and engage individuals who are at highest risk of involvement in gangs. This is because they have firsthand knowledge of the social and economic factors that contribute to gang membership, as well as the peer pressure and other dynamics that can make it difficult to leave a gang once someone has become involved.

In addition to their ability to connect with at-risk individuals, people of lived experience can also play a key role in helping to design and implement effective programs and policies aimed at reducing gang violence. This might involve developing mentorship programs or other support systems for youth who are at risk of joining gangs or working with law enforcement to develop more effective strategies for preventing gang-related crime.

Perhaps most importantly, involving people of lived experience in efforts to reduce gang violence can help to build trust and foster positive relationships between different sectors of society. This is critical because gang violence is often fueled by a deep sense of mistrust and resentment between different groups, including law enforcement, community members, and gang members themselves. By working collaboratively with people of lived experience, we can begin to break down these barriers and build a more cohesive and supportive community.

Of course, it is important to acknowledge that involving people of lived experience in efforts to reduce gang violence is not a panacea. It is just one tool in a larger toolkit of strategies that must be used in order to effectively address this complex and multifaceted problem. However, by recognizing the importance of the unique insights and perspectives that people of lived experience bring to the table, we can take an important step toward developing more effective and sustainable solutions to gang violence.

In conclusion, reducing gang violence requires a multifaceted approach, and involving people of lived experience in the process is an essential component. With the upcoming release of Walk With Me Impact, a new curriculum helps to instruct systems on how to recruit and engage with Lived Experience Experts (LEE's), we have an opportunity to equip institutions and individuals with the tools needed to effectively collaborate with those with direct experience of gang violence. In addition, my work in training LEE youth consultants can help to further amplify the voices of those most impacted by gang violence and support efforts to develop more effective and sustainable strategies for creating safer and more equitable communities. By working together with LEE's, we can make meaningful progress in reducing gang violence and building a more just and inclusive society for all.

For more information about Walk With Me Impact or looking to consult with a lived experience expert please contact us at or message us on social media. We are here to help.


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