UofL violence prevention center to share campaign at national peace rally in New Orleans

    Members of the YVPRC at the campaign kickoff in May
    Members of the YVPRC at the campaign kickoff in May

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Staff members from the University of Louisville Youth Violence Prevention Research Center (YVPRC) have been invited to be part of a national rally for peace in New Orleans today. It is part of the 2017 Essence Festival Day of Service.

    Billie Castle and Gabe Jones, graduate research assistants with YVPRC, will share the group’s three-year social norming campaign kicked off last month and aimed at reducing youth violence in Louisville. The media/social media campaign focuses on practicing Pride, Peace, Prevention and is aimed at reducing violence by opposing the perception that violence is normal, accepted and expected, particularly among African American youth.

    Master P, a rap artist who is part of violence prevention work in Louisville and New Orleans, is hosting a National Day of Peace and the Hope NOLA Celebrity Basketball Game during the 2017 Essence Festival. He has invited the family of Dequante Hobbs Jr., the slain 7-year-old from Louisville, along with the facilitators of the Louisville Dirt Bowl to take part in the rally, to be held just before the celebrity basketball game at Xavier University at 4 p.m. today.

    “We were at Dirt Bowl this past weekend and they were excited about our message and gear and asked if they could take our campaign materials to promote what we’re doing here in Louisville while they are in New Orleans,” said Monique Ingram, M.P.H., director of the Youth Violence Prevention Research Center. “Participating in this event will be a great opportunity to spread the message, extend partnerships and get more people talking about how important it is to address youth violence at multiple levels, particularly paying attention to social conditions that make violence more likely.”

    Castle and Jones will represent the YVPRC at the rally, distributing campaign materials, promoting the campaign message and sharing the experience via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They also hope to exchange ideas about strategies for reducing violence and develop partnerships with individuals involved in similar work in New Orleans.

    “I hope we can connect the efforts we are doing to the efforts in cities facing similar things,” Castle said. “We are impacted in similar ways with New Orleans in that social context impacts reasons for high crime rates and youth violence.”

    About the Youth Violence Prevention Research Center

    The Youth Violence Prevention Research Center (YVPRC) was established with a five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2015 as a National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention. Based in the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS), the YVPRC is led by Monica Wendel, Dr.P.H., M.A. and Maury Nation, Ph. D., associate professor, Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development. CDC Award # U01CE002711.


    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.