Center for Violence Prevention

‘Peace is a Civil Right’ is the theme of the event, which will feature speakers and include a tour and reception at the center’s office in the HSHSL.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)’s Center for Violence Prevention is officially opening under the leadership of Executive Director Nadine M. Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS, with “Peace is a Civil Right,” an open house from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HSHSL).

Open to the Baltimore community as well as University students, faculty, and staff, “Peace is a Civil Right” will feature remarks by key leaders and activists. Visitors will be invited to tour the center’s new space on the HSHSL fourth floor, take part in an interactive white board breakout session, and enjoy a reception in the Sherman Center for Health Care Innovation. An ice cream social will also be held to connect with UMB students who would like to be involved with the center, while Urban Reads Bookstore will have literature about the Black experience available for sale throughout the event.

“The Center for Violence Prevention seeks to bridge activities across the UMB community, the Baltimore community, and Maryland as a whole, which strengthens our communities to prevent violence and trauma," Finigan-Carr said. "I believe that it is imperative that we work collaboratively, not competitively, to build resilient and equitable communities for everyone by preventing and intervening on all forms of violence.

"To that end, we are excited to share our physical office space with our community during this open house. Being able to host our community partners with whom we have been interacting with from the moment our center was conceived is only the first step in moving forward as a center."

“Peace is a Civil Right” is one of the kickoff events for the city’s next Peace Promise Weekend, hosted by Baltimore Peace Movement (formerly Baltimore Ceasefire) from Nov. 3-5. Both events come at a time when gun-related violence remains a consistent local and national topic of conversation even as the gun death rate has fallen. According to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released in July 2023, the overall gun death rate in the United States declined 1.9 percent in 2022 from 2021 — yet despite the improvement, gun death rates remained near highs not seen since the mid-1990s.

The creation of the Center for Violence Prevention, which brings together the expertise and resources of UMB and the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, was announced in September 2022 to help reduce and respond to violence in Baltimore City and beyond. Funded by a $2 million gift from Betsy Sherman and the Sherman Family Foundation, the center is working to bridge numerous research and clinical programs already in place at UMB that address violence and the social determinants of violence.

Along with research, education, training, and advocacy, the center’s engagement with community partners is a fundamental part of its work. Representatives from many of those partners will attend the open house as speakers and special guests, including Erricka Bridgeford, the co-founder of the Baltimore Peace Movement and executive director of the Baltimore Community Mediation Center.

“As a leader at both the Baltimore Community Mediation Center and Baltimore Peace Movement, I am overjoyed about community members being able to connect with the Center for Violence Prevention," Bridgeford said. "Our teams have already been in partnership, and I love that Baltimoreans will have the chance to attend this open house, learn what the center is and will be doing, and what they can do to be involved in Baltimore's peace."

In addition to Finigan-Carr and Bridgeford, speakers at the open house will include UMB Provost and Executive Vice President Roger J. Ward, EdD, JD, MSL, MPA; Thomas M. Scalea, MD, physician in chief at Shock Trauma, and the Honorable Francis X. Kelly Distinguished Professor of Trauma Surgery and director of the Program in Trauma, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM); Joshua Michael, executive director of the Sherman Family Foundation; Baltimore City Council member Phylicia Porter of District 10; and Lawrence Grandpre, director of research for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle.

Guests attending “Peace is a Civil Right” include Baltimore City Council member Mark Conway of District 4; Tia Hamilton, owner of Urban Reads Bookstore; Nicole Hanson, executive director of Out4Justice; Judy L. Postmus, PhD, ACSW, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work; LaMarr Shields, PhD, MEd, co-founder of Cambio Group; and Sean Smeeton, co-founder of Taharka Brothers.



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