213: PLENARY SESSION - Surviving "Murder Town USA": Coping with Homicide, Structural Violence and Activism in a Small Urban Black City

Deb Berke; Yasser A. Payne; Kay Simon; Matthew Ogan; Janeal White; Chalandra Bryant; Christine Proulx; Scott Tobias; Athena Chung Yin Chan; Jen Doty
10:15 AM
11:30 AM
Salon D
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About the Session

Conference Attendance Hours: 1
NBCC CE Hours: 1


Welcome from Debra L. Berke, Ph.D., Wilmington University, 2022 NCFR Program Chair

Welcome from the 2022 Conference Host, Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota: Kay Simon, Ph.D.

Presentation of the Feldman Outstanding Research Proposal for Research in Family Policy Award to Matthew A. Ogan, M.S., University of Missouri; Presenter: Janeal White, Award Selection Committee Chair

Presentation of the Felix Berardo Award to Chalandra M. Bryant, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; and Christine M. Proulx, Ph.D., University of Vermont; Presenter: Scott Tobias, Award Selection Committee Chair

Presentation of the NCFR Student Award to Athena Chung Yin Chan, M.S.Sc., University of Minnesota; Presenter: Jennifer Doty, Award Selection Committee Chair

"Murder Town USA" highlights how a street participatory action research (Street PAR) program trained a set of street-identified Black men and women to examine and do activism on gun violence in Wilmington, Delaware. Over a 10-year period and four studies, this Street PAR program in Wilmington examined how race, ethnicity, gender, and the structural violence complex, has deeply informed a street identity and especially gun violence. Drawing on large community samples of survey and interview data, we learned how street-identified Black men and women utilize personal resilience as well as family and community well-being to navigate the treacherous trappings of poverty, police and prison, poor schooling and housing conditions, and gun violence. This presentation addresses how and why aspirations of a family are pursued by men and women raised in communities rocked by dis-opportunity and gun violence. The voices most likely to perpetuate and be victimized by gun violence is what's missing most from discussions on gun violence. It is only through and with the streets that it is possible to stop the violence and improve family cohesion in poor neighborhoods. Implications on how Street PAR was used as an individual and structural intervention will also be discussed.


  • Participants will learn about: resilience in street-identified Black men and women
  • Participants will learn about: the reframing of homicide and structural violence
  • Participants will learn about: the power or street participatory action research (Street PAR)
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