Racial justice principles have far-reaching implications for violence prevention initiatives. With strong partnerships with communities most impacted by structural racism and violence, practitioners and advocates can apply racial justice principles to violence prevention planning, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability efforts. Training and practice is needed to build collective capacity to apply racial justice principles to all violence prevention activities.


  1. Distributing responsibility across an organization with guidance from a core team that includes people with lived experience. Responsibility for racial justice needs to be distributed across organizations, collaborative groups, and entire communities, and guided by a core team with authority that includes people with lived experience. A racial justice core team is a primary leadership team responsible for designing, coordinating, and organizing Racial Justice Action Plans and activities across an organization, in a manner that assures that racial justice is prioritized by everyone at the organization or collaborative. The networked core team can coordinate the development of a comprehensive strategy, serve as models for and guide the development of skills and capacities, and sequence the work through the use of a Racial Justice Action Plan. An important first step of the action plan is to build shared understanding about structural racism and buy-in for action (see Racial Justice Principle 1). If the formation of a core team is not possible, efforts to build support to advance the work and to counter resistance will be needed.

  2. Assessment and planning. Successful violence prevention activities ensure that individuals from the most impacted communities meaningfully contribute to assessment and planning decisions. Quantitative data, past policies, historic events, stories of lived experience, and other qualitative data provide critical information about dynamics of structural racism, legacies of resilience and resistance, and potential effective strategies to advance community safety and racial justice.

  3. Organizational practices. We apply racial justice principles systematically to guide an 'organization's journey toward becoming a racially just organization, including equitable hiring and professional development, engaging a community advisory body, growing a sustained culture of racial justice, and contracting and procurement.

  4. Collaboration among local health jurisdictions, other government sectors, and community partners. Shared decision-making power and resources are needed to build a strong racial justice and community safety ecosystem that centers communities most impacted and  builds relationships of trust, transparency, and mutual reciprocity.

  5. Cross-sector training and capacity-building. People who have benefited from structural racism need capacity building to understand and implement racial justice principles and practices, including equitable partnership skills with communities most impacted. People of color most impacted by structural racism and violence also need full investment in capacity building, e.g., leadership development opportunities and job training, to access opportunities for growth and professional advancement equitably. Trainings for all staff to address implicit bias and structural racism should be vetted for depth, quality, and effectiveness. In these trainings, people of color need to be protected from anger and retaliation and offered space and support to grieve and heal.

  6. Research, evaluation, and continuous quality improvement. Racial justice principles have significant implications for evidence-based decision-making, and research, evaluation, and continuous quality improvement activities. To shift the status quo, an expansive and balanced understanding and use of evidence that includes contextual and experiential evidence, as well as research-based evidence, are necessary in decision-making. Lived experience and contextual data need to be elevated as meaningful evidence alongside dominant research and data practices. Those most affected by structural racism and community violence need to shape and lead research and evaluation activities. Data-driven processes advance racial justice goals when they authentically include community voice to eliminate bias and affirm culture's role in strategic solutions. And continuous quality improvement (CQI) activities are important for ensuring effectiveness and accountability of racial justice efforts.

  7. Framing, narrative change, and communications. Strategic framing and promotion of new narratives, informed by the science of bias, are needed to uproot false ideology, lift up existing community agency and legacies of resilience and resistance, and encourage urgency and accountability.

  8. Community healing. Healing is a starting point for community agency, which is necessary for effective collective action. Community healing within systems includes recognition of the harms that systems have generated and efforts to change power-dynamics and eliminate harm. Culturally rooted healing can include healing circles, vigils, restorative justice, and community arts.

  9. Community organizing and power-building. Community organizing is about working with people who are most impacted by a problem to identify solutions and to mobilize for change. Community power-building activities include leadership development, civic engagement, and capacity building on shaping policies and budgets. Government entities can serve as an equitable partner within the safety ecosystem to support communities impacted by structural racism and violence in realizing their own organizing goals.

  10. Advocacy for policy, systems change, and resources. Achieving racial justice will require changes in policies, systems, and resources, including administrative actions and voluntary practices at the local, state, and national levels