Advance Peace

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Alfredo Gonzalez, 42, sat down in the Project Rebound office at Fresno State on a Wednesday morning. He was there to register for a two-day criminal justice class that would count for one unit toward his bachelor’s degree. 

 

“Although I’m at (Fresno) City I’ve been part of Project Rebound since before I got out of prison,” he said. The program helps formerly incarcerated people go to college and graduate. 

 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

At about 10 a.m. Aaron Foster heads to Ivy and Lorena streets in southwest Fresno. In his pickup truck, he goes around neighborhoods in this area every day, or what he calls “hitting the loop.”

 

“This is just the hood, we call it the block,” he said. “Every neighborhood got a block. This is the southwest Fresno that no one sees. The poverty is obvious.”

 

He does this to “sustain the peace” and to prevent shootings from happening.  

 

 

 

On this week's Valley Edition: Two violent incidents shook the Sikh community in Bakersfield this year; now a women’s group is running a resource hotline in English and Punjabi.

And one father in Fresno who lost two children to gun violence has a strategy for fighting it in his own neighborhood. Is it working? We follow him to find out.

Faith in the Valley

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand Brand vetoed just over a million dollars in spending this year to balance the city’s more-than-a-billion-dollars budget. Some of the vetoed items were those most hotly contested by the city council.

Monica Velez / KVPR

Fresno is one step closer to adopting a new program that uses mentoring, behavioral therapy and life skills training to curb gun violence in the city. Council members voted last week to allocate $200,000 to fund Advance Peace. Now local leaders and Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer have 90 days to submit to the council a proposal detailing how the money will be used. Moderator Kathleen Schock talks to council members Miguel Arias and Gary Bredefeld as well as community organizer Aaron Foster about their takes on the program.

On this week’s Valley Edition: Today on our show, stories about identity: how do you be yourself when others assume you’re something else? We talk to a transgender person about what it’s like to work while transitioning. And we hear from athletes who play competitive soccer in wheelchairs. And what’s behind gang violence in Fresno? Can it be curbed with an innovative program?

Faith in the Valley

Fresno moved a step closer Thursday to fund an unconventional program that aims to reduce gun violence. After a fiery debate, the Fresno City Council voted to partially fund Advance Peace.

 

Three council members voted to allocate $200,000 from the budget for the program. The city administration, local leaders, and Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer have 90 days to come up with a proposal detailing how the money will be used. After the proposal is submitted, the city council will vote on it.

 

Monica Velez

Aaron Foster stands outside Wayne's Liquor store on East California Avenue. There’s a park across the street buzzing with people, a taqueria around the corner, and a library a few blocks away.

 

“This is the heart of Southwest Fresno,” he says. “There’s rival gang members that come by but they know this is a safe zone.”