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UC Berkeley Press Release

UC Berkeley opens new youth violence research center

– The Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of California, Berkeley, has been awarded a $4.3 million grant to open a new center to study youth violence.

The five-year grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was announced today (Wednesday, Sept. 21) by the institute. The new center at UC Berkeley is one of eight approved by the CDC as part of its program to foster academic excellence in the area of youth violence prevention.

The Center on Culture, Immigration and Youth Violence Prevention will open Oct. 1. It will focus on the causes and prevention of youth violence, particularly among Asian Pacific Islander and Latino immigrants in Oakland, said Frank Zimring, principal investigator for the new center.

"We hope the center will nurture the next generation of researchers on youth violence prevention and build the capacity for communities themselves to address problems of violence," said Zimring, the William G. Simon Professor of Law at UC Berkeley's School of Law (Boalt Hall) and chairman of the criminal justice research program at the campus's Institute for Legal Research.

The center will be jointly run by the Institute for the Study of Social Change (ISSC), the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), Boalt Hall and UC San Francisco.

Beyond research, the center will be a gathering place for community members, policy makers and researchers to identify shared priorities, develop innovative strategies, and translate and disseminate information.

"The issue of assisting the children and families of the 'new Californians' to succeed in our increasingly diverse society is crucial to the future health of the Golden State," said Barry Krisberg, president of the Oakland-based NCCD. "The ambitious research agenda of the center and key partnerships with community agencies will be a model of how the intellectual capital of the university can be harnessed to help those most in need of positive attention."

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, violence by firearms alone claimed the lives of 4,317 young men and women in the United States during 2002. Homicide is the second and suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth, both males and females ages 15 to 24. And the numbers soar among Latino immigrant youth compared to the general population. There is evidence that this is also true for Asian and Pacific Islander youth.

Among the center's projects is a Community Mobilization Plan to coordinate youth violence prevention efforts in the Asian Pacific Islander and Latino communities in Oakland. Community members will help collect and analyze data, and train those most affected by youth violence to represent themselves in the public arena, according to Howard Pinderhughes, an associate professor of social and behavioral sciences at UCSF who will spearhead the effort.

"ISSC is pleased to announce the opening of the center," said Rachel F. Moran, director of the ISSC and the Robert D. and Leslie-Kay Raven Professor of Law at Boalt Hall. "The center continues the institute's long tradition of sponsoring interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and inclusive research that provides a foundation for meaningful change, and it will add a vital dimension to the institute's mission of fostering a new generation of scholars who address problems of social change in innovative ways."

The ISSC has been at the forefront of research that explores the changing dynamics of race, ethnicity, gender and class in American life. The institute has three decades of experience in graduate training and a prominent record of innovative, interdisciplinary research. Moran said ISSC welcomes the chance to forge new academic partnerships with NCCD, Boalt Hall and UCSF.

The NCCD is the oldest criminal justice research organization in America. It promotes effective, humane, fair and economically sound solutions to family, community and justice problems. It has an outstanding tradition of research, reform and collaboration with individuals, private organizations, community members and the media.