The Anti-Violence Campaign
is the ongoing project of the International Health & Epidemiology Research
Center. The Anti-Violence Campaign is a comprehensive violence prevention/intervention
project that strives to eliminate mortality and morbidity in children/youth.
We do this by influencing children's learned responses at an early age.
This campaign educates and raises awareness about the hazards of guns,
toy guns/weapons, and violence among children, parents, and educators.
This is done through presentations, workshops, letter writing, influencing
toy manufacturers and policy makers, media coverage, art exhibition( Replacing
Violence with Art), and Anti-Violence Day events. At the events,
children turn in their toy guns/weapons, and instead, create a piece of
art with the collected weapons.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:
Problem: Violence is a social disease which has now reached it's epidemic iceberg, and is becoming the # 1 public health problem. Violence, especially gun violence, is killing more children than many diseases combined. Violence is the most important issue facing our children and youth today in the U.S., and the target age group for violence is getting younger everyday.
The U.S. ranks tremendously behind many other industrialized nations
not only in regards to infant mortality and number of uninsured, but also
in violence, homicide and especially gun violence, few statistics are given
- California, Out of all 50 states, has the highest rate of firearm deaths among children. California had the highest number of homicides and suicides killing children, and ranked second in accidental gun deaths. (Children's Defense Fund Annual Report, 1997) Guns are the number one cause of death for children under 20 in California. (California Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Report, 1993).
- Los Angeles is greatly impacted by this alarming epidemic. In 1991, 66% of all youth homicides were gun related. (Los Angles County Sheriff's Department Report, 1992) Possession of a weapon is the number one reason for expulsion referrals in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Between 1993 and 1996, 1287 students have been expelled for bringing a gun or knife to school. (LAUSD reports, 1994 & 1996).
PURPOSE: The ultimate goal of the ANTI-VIOLENCE CAMPAIGN is to create a healthier, violence free society for future generations:
Children /youths, their families, educators, professionals, community
leaders and the general population, with priority given to minorities,
and those most vulnerable, in undeserved, un/underinsured, and gang infested
Public/private schools/districts, different communities & organizations,
health departments, churches, children museums, etc.
SERVICES PROVIDED AND METHODS:
Providing education, raising awareness, and conducting the "Anti-Violence Day" Events, presentations, workshops, distribution of educational materials, petitions, influencing policy makers, letter writing, and through the media and art displays by:
Toy weapons are increasingly being used to commit real crimes, and more
children are being killed when a toy gun is mistaken for a real gun.
Consider the following alarming facts about toy guns, crimes, and children
Through a community-based campaign, and a strong collaboration with public and private schools, government agencies, communities, and non profit organizations, the International Health & Epidemiology Research Center is empowering educators, public, parents, and children with essential information. The campaign's vital message: guns are not toys, and violence is not play; both real and toy firearms can kill.
This innovative project has been carried out
successfully in many public/private schools/districts, different communities,
public/private organizations, professional meetings, churches, and children
museums throughout California. It has also drawn national and international
attention. The Anti-Violence Campaign has directly served over 150,000
children, parents, and professionals and has also indirectly served
millions, throughout the world, through media since its inception in April
Anti-Violence Day Events:
For the first time, we carried out this project
very successfully on April 2, 1995 for a minority community. Then, in several
private schools in April and May of the same year. This project
also took off, with great
success, in California for the Hispanic/ Latino Community in Pacoima on October 28, Monroe Complex of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), including 15 schools, on October 21 in North Hills, and several centers of the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles on October 16-17 of 1995. Then, due to its tremendous success and great demand, this project was carried out for the second time in 3 parks (in Northern and Southern California) for the Iranian community on March 3, the Jewish community on April 14, Jordan/Lock Cluster of the LAUSD (including 25 schools), S. Central Los Angeles, on May 18, Nickerson Garden Housing in Watts area (mostly African American and a very low socioeconomic area) in Los Angeles on August 26, and in Santa Barbara, CA, on December 7, 1996. Our most recent project was on April 6, 1997 for the
Iranian Community, in two parks in Irvine, Orange County (3rd Annual), in Chatsworth, California (2nd Annual), in the San Fernando Valley, California and on April 10, 1997 at the Los Angeles Children Museum. in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Health Department During these events, children turned in their toy gun/weapons, and instead used them to create a giant collage with an anti-violence message. This art piece was kept at the Los Angeles Children Museum for two months for the public to view. Children who did not have a toy gun to turn in were encouraged to write short stories or create art work about danger of guns in society. Each child who participated received a certificate and a "Say No to Toy Guns/Weapons" T-shirt as a reward. The children, by wearing these T-shirts, could be "walking billboards" to help their communities; discouraging the use of violence and the violence objects. The families also learned the immediate danger imposed on their children by real, and toy guns. These events were broadcasted nationally and internationally. One of the articles about this project, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times is enclosed. Schools and communities in different states such as Oregon, Ohio, New York, and Florida have expressed great interest for carrying out this campaign/project.
In addition, and prior to the Anti-Violence Day events, we have provided over 25 lectures, workshops, and presentations for parents, educators, community representatives, and at scientific meetings throughout California. The statistical analysis of questionnaire data support that over 90% of adult participants determined:
Influencing Policy Makers and Educators:
We already have endorsements and support from the National School Safety
Center, the Los Angeles Unified School District (board members, Safety
Planning and Multicultural Education Committees), Claremont Graduate School,
Physician For Social Responsibility, Los Angeles County Health Department,
Los Angeles Children Museum, American Academy of Pediatrics, Iranian Medical
Association, Santa Barbara Women Against Gun Violence, Vice President Al
Gore, Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Hilda Solis,
Councilman Alarcon, and Councilman Feuer, and many more.
Strong media coverage of each event, numerous newspaper articles, (copies
are available upon request), and extensive radio and television interviews
with Dr. Kioumehr have successfully augmented the ANTI-VIOLENCE CAMPAIGN'S
message, and millions of people have been served in this way nationally
and even internationally.
For more information please refer to Anti-Violence Campaign homepage.