The Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P) initiative is the Southwest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) community violence intervention team. CP4P has a strong focus on building relationships within the communities with high-risk individuals who are likely to be perpetrators or the victims of gun violence and helps them find alternatives to violence. On September 24th, 2023, CP4P put together a Community Health Fair to address issues of public safety. This wellness event was the culmination of a group of stakeholders on the southwest side engaging in peace conversations and wanting to figure out how they could best meet the needs of the community. “What came to mind was how important wellness is and how mental and physical wellness plays a part in the violence in our communities. We noticed the health disparities on the southwest side and decided to partner with health care providers and community organizations to bring the resources they needed to where they live.”, Armando Mancilla, Senior Case Manager for CP4P, shared.
This event saw the collaboration of over 20 different organizations dedicated to bringing about the safest and most equitable versions of their communities. Resources such as health screenings, vaccination distribution, and wellness activities were key parts of what made the fair successful, but so was the atmosphere that was created by fun activities such as bouncy houses for kids and a live DJ. Armando continued with, “Stopping violence doesn’t end at stopping fights or shootouts but extends to the root causes of needs in our communities. Public safety issues start with lack of health services, lack of mental health services, lack of jobs, and built-up frustrations. That’s why having community leaders who care and are willing to work together to provide for our communities is something we want to continue to do.”