Joseph Purnell, Choices
Joseph has been a community organizer and community activist for more than 30 years. He and a host of other community activists have been working since the summer of 2012 setting up programs designed to reduce the levels of violence in West and Southwest Philadelphia. Together with Neighborhood United Against Drugs, they will provide violence prevention education services to African American men ages 18 to 50 in West and Southwest Philadelphia.
The cornerstone of the program is a video intervention that takes place in local barbershops. Participants will receive free haircuts and see Choices II, a 30 minute video chronicling the lives of three men who have come full circle in the criminal justice system. The men will then actively engage in an open-ended problem solving dialogue about addressing violence in their own lives and in the community. The team is targeting African American men who have had at least one encounter with the criminal justice system. Particular attention will be paid to those men who in a relationship where a female and children are involved.
Joseph and his team are also seeking to test and replicate this model. They have already enlisted program evaluation support from two universities including the University of Pennsylvania.
GRANT AWARD DATE: APRIL 9, 2013