Advance Peace Fresno Program Manager Aaron Foster said, “The people who commit these crimes know us. That’s why we’re so effective. Because as soon as it’s a personal connection, it’s not a job. We do it out of passion, and the problems out there become our problem, and we try to be the best remedy to those problems.”
The new funding is part of the Fiscal Year 2022 government funding package signed Tuesday (March 15) by President Joe Biden. According to Representative Jim Costa (CA-16), it is the first Advance Peace program in the nation to receive funding from the federal government. Advance Peace Fresno is one of 10 local projects receiving funding thanks to efforts by Representative Jim Costa. Congressman Costa announced that he secured a total of $11,004,664 in Community Project Funding for projects in Fresno, Madera, and Merced Counties.
Advance Peace Fresno is operated by Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission. CEO Emilia Reyes said, “We are making a difference in our communities and saving lives. We are thankful to Congressman Jim Costa for understanding the importance of reducing gun violence and pushing for funding. We are honored to receive this significant federal acknowledgment and investment from Congress. This additional funding will help us to expand the program and focus on youth.”
The UC Berkeley Center for Global Healthy Cities gathered data on gun homicides in Fresno last year. The data shows a 35% reduction in African American gun homicide victims from 2020 to 2021, and southwest Fresno had a decrease of 11%. Citywide, there was a 7% decrease in total gun homicides.
Advance Peace Fresno is operated by Fresno EOC and launched its first cohort in June 2021 with 15 young men, and those Fellows will complete their 18-month program in December 2022. The program’s goals are to transform lives, and build healthier, safer communities by putting an end to cyclical and retaliatory gun violence in our neighborhoods.