By Maggi Marshall, WTVR

Coming together to end gun violence in Richmond was the main focus for advocacy groups along with city leaders at a Tuesday night meeting.

Members of Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities (RISC) and the Richmond Chapter of Virginia Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (VCORE), met with Mayor Levar Stoney and the city’s police chief.

The meeting comes after both groups sent a letter in July to city leaders which stated that they felt current strategies to prevent gun violence were not effective and that they would like to see other models in place.

They presented why they felt group violence intervention, or GVI, needed to be adopted in Richmond.

It’s a program, according to the National Network for Safer Communities, that focuses on replacing enforcement with deterrence.

However, after the meeting, both parties stated they were not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.

RISC Co-President Amy Redwine said they were disappointed because they hoped they would come to an agreement to implement GVI.

Meanwhile, Stoney said he was disappointed the organization did not commit to collaboration.

RISC leaders said they felt Richmond’s leaders presented lots of information on what they currently have in the works with their prevention models.

“They are less interested in listening and understanding the community which has been asking for this proven solution,” Redwine said.

City leaders said they felt it was important for these organizers to have knowledge of the frameworks and models they have in place.

That includes utilizing national resources and programs that have come up with a tailored plan for Richmond, utilizing data in approaches of enforcement and prevention as well as being evaluated on models they have in place.

Some of which they say are components of GVI. Edwards said it’s important the city takes a holistic approach, while Stoney emphasized collaboration has to work both ways.

While these groups may not agree on the same methods to end gun violence, they both can agree they share the same goal.

“No one is ever satisfied with someone losing their life to gun violence,” Stoney said.

City leaders said they believe there is no one solution to ending gun violence and they hope this will be the first of further conversations with this group.

You can learn more about Richmond’s gun violence prevention framework and further resources that are in place here.

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