On the evening of Wednesday, June 1, the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center hosted the first of a two-part dinner series to discuss issues pertaining to the intersections between domestic/intimate partner violence and community gun violence. This dinner brought together individuals from a diverse set of professional backgrounds, who usually work in silos, to think about ways all involved can work together to positively impact those affected on all sides of the issue.

The discussion was facilitated by Marlon Peterson, founder and chief re-imaginator of The Precedential Group, a social justice consulting firm, and a 2015 recipient of the Soros Justice Fellowship. The dinner was coordinated by Hailey Nolasco, Planner of the Bedford Stuyvesant Anti-violence Project; a program in its planning stages working to create a strategic plan to tackle the connection of these two issues.

The conversations that took place at this dinner were structured around questions such as: Why is the issue of intersectionality important? How do community gun violence and intimate partner violence overlap? Have you seen any commonalities in people who have experienced either issue? How do the criminal justice system and community based organizations respond to these issues? What norms do we need to disrupt to undo/address community gun violence and intimate partner violence effectively? Through this dialogue, we were able to engage individuals around the table in a fruitful discussion to brainstorm ways in which all involved can work together to un-silo the current system’s responses. The thoughts and answers to these questions were captured by Crystal Bruno through graphic facilitation to give us an illustration of the findings of our dinner discussion. Crystal Bruno is an illustrator, muralist, and teaching artist born, raised, and based in New York City. Her work serves and celebrates women of color and communities of color and her vibrant organic urban styles merge the intersections of culture, gender, spirit, and inner city life

Why discuss these issues over dinner? The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center has realized that often the most challenging and best conversations take place at the dinner table. For this reason, we agreed that it would be best to have professionals from various sectors speak about these issues that are plaguing our communities in a safe and comfortable space to promote honesty and transparency in our discourse. Part two of our dinner series will take place on Wednesday, June 15th, where we hope to dig deeper into the issue of intersectionality between community gun violence and intimate partner/domestic violence.