Firearm violence is a significant U.S. public health priority. Firearm injuries are now the leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24. While each community has its unique characteristics, the root causes of all forms of violence, especially interpersonal firearm violence, are deeply connected to structural factors such as racism and the inequitable distribution of resources.
Our YVPC 2021-2026 core research project is focused on addressing root causes of firearm violence.
Critical Consciousness Theory suggests that by increasing awareness among marginalized groups about the root causes of oppression, we can inspire social change by engaging youth in shaping that change. Critical consciousness involves the ability to think critically about the political, economic, and social structures that contribute to inequities, with the intention of taking action. Through experiential activities like identifying risk and protective factors for gun violence and learning about topics such as community history, structural racism, and relevant policies, youth can develop an understanding of the root causes of firearm violence disparities.