Advance Peace, the anti-gun violence program coming to Fresno, has received $900,000 in state funding.
“These funds will allow us to offer mentorship, resources, and training to reduce gun violence in Fresno. As someone who was personally affected by gun violence, I am tired of grieving with our community.” — Fresno EOC CEO Emilia Reyes
Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, the nonprofit administering Advanced Peace, announced Thursday that it has been awarded a three-year California Violence Intervention and Prevention grant.
“These funds will allow us to offer mentorship, resources, and training to reduce gun violence in Fresno. As someone who was personally affected by gun violence, I am tired of grieving with our community,” Fresno EOC CEO Emilia Reyes said in an email statement.
City Approved Advance Peace Following Key Change
Advocates tout the program as a way of decreasing violence by transitioning former gang members into productive citizens. However, city officials declined to fund the program in 2019 because of the perception that the program paid gang members not to commit crimes.
This year, the program won support from the likes of Mayor Lee Brand and Police Chief Andy Hall. The controversy surrounding paying gang members was resolved when it was agreed that no public funds would go into that aspect of Advance Peace.
The Fresno City Council approved up to $300,000 for the program, which will now be matched by the state grant.
Fresno EOC will partner with Faith in the Valley to implement Advance Peace.
According to a news release, “together, they will identify potential Peacemaker fellows and focus on violence interruption, community engagement, education, and resources for communities who are hit the hardest, not only by historic gun violence but now COVID-19 outbreaks as well.”