Engaging Black men and boys in domestic violence prevention

Anti-Violence Ventures Reimagine Lab

Reimagine Lab: Preventing cycles of violence, now and into the future is a human-centered design lab supported by the Foundation that produced new and innovative solutions to breaking the cycle of domestic and family violence. The lab launched in 2018, with 16 community fellows from diverse backgrounds and from across California from inside and outside the domestic violence field. The engagement of community-based fellows in the development of new ideas to prevent domestic violence reflects the Foundation’s vision for engaging those with lived experience in the design of solutions. The fellows formed teams to develop their ideas for preventing violence with the help of Foundation partners Gobee Group, a health and social innovation design firm based in Oakland. Gobee designed and facilitated the Reimagine Lab experience with guidance from Foundation staff and leadership. 

Anti-Violence Ventures (AVV) intends to break the cycle of violence in the Black community through a series of community conversations that engage Black men and boys. The following blog is a reflection from Olivia Nava, senior design strategist at Gobee Group, on how Anti-Violence Ventures prototyped their idea:

AVV believes that change in the Black community can only happen from within. The project’s initial concept was to engage unlikely social advocates in the effort to end domestic violence. This is a unique approach because these social advocates don’t need a career in violence prevention programming, social services, or law enforcement. They just need a commitment to their community and a passion to end violence.

Vanessa Guillen Mural

AVV ignites community members to do what they see fit to prevent violence in their communities and homes  -executed in their own style. In this way, AVV democratizes who and how people address violence. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to AVV programming. The unifying aspect is a focus on Black men and boys at the center.  

For the past year, AVV has tested different approaches involving Black men with diverse lived experiences. The group commits funds to seed bottom-up ideas from the community - from working with local leaders to host a forum discussion in Los Angeles to engaging with a podcast for Black men. AVV is now expanding its circle of influence by engaging new non-traditional entrepreneurs: barbers, Black cowboys, and professional actors and musicians. The innovation that we will see is in the platform, as well as in the work of these supported social entrepreneurs.

You can learn more about AVV by contacting Sonya Young Adaam at sonya [at] cabwhp.org and by checking out the team’s video from their Los Angeles community forum. We will continue to follow the progress of the Reimagine Lab fellows to share new insights with the field.


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