Center for American Progress

From the Front Lines: Chicago CRED’s Effort To Stop Gun Violence
Part of a Series

In a nation grappling with the daily occurrence of gun violence, community violence intervention (CVI) programs are a tool to take back our communities. CVI workers are the heroes on the front lines, charting a path to combat America’s gun violence crisis and create healing, unity, and a safer future for everyone.

Melvyn Hayward was only 10 years old when he saw firsthand the impact of gun violence in his Los Angeles neighborhood.* As a teenager, he was shot and lost his best friend to gun violence within a single year. After years of being involved in crime and violence, Melvyn found himself in a prison cell praying for a second chance. He found the strength to change his life by turning to his community.

Today, Melvyn is helping other young people escape the cycle of violence as the chief program officer at Chicago CRED, a CVI organization that takes a holistic approach to radically reducing gun violence in Chicago. He oversees outreach and programming to connect at-risk youth to resources for employment, mental health, and education. His heroic work in CVI is healing his community and building a safer future for Chicago.

* Correction, September 27, 2023: This page has been updated to reflect that Melvyn Hayward grew up in Los Angeles, not Chicago.

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Nick Wilson

Senior Director, Gun Violence Prevention

Chandler Hall

Senior Policy Analyst

Tymoni Correa-Buntley

Director, Digital Campaigns

Audrey Smith

Senior Digital Campaigns Strategist, Digital Strategy


Matthew Gossage

Events Video Producer

Ashley Joo

Video Intern

Hai-Lam Phan

Senior Director, Creative


Gun Violence Prevention

Our goal is to reduce gun violence by enacting strong gun laws, increasing investment in local solutions, and growing the movement dedicated to this mission.

Explore The Series

Photo shows a young man lighting a candle in the late evening

In America, gunshots rattle communities every 11 minutes. Amid this cycle of tragedy, community violence intervention (CVI) programs are addressing the root causes of violence to end cycles before they can start.

Through collaboration with residents and government officials, CVI programs curb the spread of gun violence by meeting community members where they are and responding to their individual needs. In violence-affected neighborhoods, residents are grappling with trauma and long-standing hardships that fuel the rise in shootings. But CVI programs channel resources back into the community, improving access to needed resources such as education, employment, housing, and health care.

In a nation haunted by the daily occurrence of gun violence, CVI programs provide a path forward—toward healing, unity, and a safer future for everyone.

This series highlights resources on CVI programs and stories from the voices of change on the front lines of America’s gun violence epidemic. These narratives are a reminder of the challenges and successes that outline the effort to save more lives.


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