KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The AdHoc Group Against Crime's mission is "Promoting Healing and Justice," and they're working harder than ever during a violent year in Kansas City.
"With our Caring for Crimes Providers Program, helping victims of violence, families of victims of violence, our director of crisis intervention has still been able to help families with relocation, getting them temporary shelter after an incident, providing therapy and counseling to a lot of victims and families’ victims. One thing that’s important is keeping in contact with these family members, especially during this time," says India Woods, AdHoc's community resource advocate.
Woods, 22, said the group is working with young people.
"I work a lot with our youth on the prevention side. We have high school groups and we talk about community resilience, community violence, trauma, coping skills, giving them conflict mediation skills and things like that, just getting the youth talking, because a lot of the time they don’t have the words to speak about it. They don’t have the language and terminology, giving them that knowledge and skill and language have been super important," Woods said.
In terms of intervention, AdHoc works to prevent retaliation.
"Then on the intervention side, we started a hospital based violence intervention program with KU Med. What we do is we engage with intentionally injured individuals aged 12-24 and as soon as we get the referral from the hospital, we get in contact with them, offer services, case management, and try to get them from retaliating or getting them back into the situation that lead them to being in the hospital," Woods said.
It's been a challenging year for AdHoc as KCMO grapples with a historically violent calendar year, the COVID-19 pandemic, and unrest surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other members of the Black community.
"At this point, we have to address it the same way we address COVID. They’re both public health crises. When someone catches COVID, you have to contact who they’ve been in contact with, family and friends, medical providers impacted by it. Same thing with violence – the victim is impacted, their family and friends are impacted, the person who injured the victim, their friends and family are impacted when told, 'Don’t tell on me,'" Woods said. "That’s a whole spread based on one violent incident, then the potential for retaliation, that also spreads, a whole other spread of violence there."
AdHoc also implements employment resource programs, providing skill and trade training for residents to find employment opportunities.
The organization plans to hold a virtual fundraiser in October to discuss violence and find solutions, with National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates serving as a keynote speaker.