An alliance of more than 100 nonprofits and government agencies from across Minnesota has released a plan to end violence in Minnesota.
The Statewide Plan to End Violence, presented at the United Against Violence Summit in Minneapolis, is the largest statewide collaboration to date to address eight forms of violence: bullying, child abuse, dating violence, domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking.
"What we believe is that there's a lot of connectivity between these different forms of violence," said Dave Ellis, basic needs program manager for the Greater Twin Cities United Way.
Ellis said most projects associated with the plan will start in January. Organizers designed the plan to serve the state through at least 2018, he said.
"As folks come together and begin to implement different projects, we'll continue to add to this plan. It is a living document," he said.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken, several legislators, state agency leaders and advocates were among more than 500 people attending the summit on Tuesday.
The plan's vision is to end violence and oppression "by building communities that value human rights and diversity." Ellis said that not only includes racial diversity, but also differences between rural Minnesota and the Twin Cities.
"We're trying to get at it from multiple angles," said Ellis, who helped lead efforts to draft the plan.
Ellis said the groups involved in creating the plan agree that reducing violence can have broad benefits for society. Education is one example, he said.
"When you're talking about early childhood and reading by third grade, where does violence fit into that? Because I can tell you that if there's violence in the home and you don't deal with it, there's not a child in the world that's going to be ready for [kindergarten]. And they won't be ready to read at third grade level, at least not the majority of them," Ellis said.
Ellis cited several examples of programs that fit into the statewide plan, including PAVE, which teaches children how to recognize family violence. Run by the Bloomington-based group Cornerstone, PAVE also teaches children about healthy communication and self-esteem.
In Minneapolis, Jewish Family and Children's Services is addressing intimate partner abuse through helping people establish financial stability, Ellis said.
"When people are impacted, it's not just about the violence," he said. "The violence to me is a symptom. We haven't gotten to the root causes."