Track: All

Every day, 100 people in the U.S. are killed by guns, and many others are injured. This type of violence occurs most frequently in some of the poorest communities, disproportionately impacting communities of color. Gun violence is often a symptom of larger and underlying issues related to poverty and mental health. In fact, gun violence is often associated with people who have experienced toxic stress in childhood, which may have impacted their developmental trajectory. Gun violence creates ripple effects of trauma for survivors, victims, their families, observers, first responders, and the entire community. 

This frank conversation will explore the topic of gun violence in our communities, discuss the impact of gun related trauma as it relates to children and families, and brainstorm the ways we can infuse empathy, therapeutic interventions, and the right training to law enforcement, educators, health care providers, and other community-based systems. We will explore the ways we, collectively, as representatives of communities across the country, can endorse the policy interventions that address root cause issues that prevent violence.

Please note that this session will be more focused on daily gun violence in communities and will not be specifically focused on the topic of mass shootings. We believe both topics are critically important discussions with some individual nuances. We hope to tackle the topic of mass shootings at a future session.

Learning Objectives

  • The impact of gun violence on the communities we serve, with an equity lens
  • Connect brain science research on trauma to these issues, to inform our approaches
  • Ways to facilitate community conversations, policy interventions, and ideas to create systems change in our communities and our country


  • Ilana Levinson, senior director of government relations, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities 
  • Jay Paris, director of Youth Link, NAFI
  • K. Bain, founding director of Cure Violence Model, Jacob Riis Settlement House

Ilana Levinson
Senior Director of Government Relations
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities

Ilana Levinson is the senior director of government relations for the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. In this role, she represents the Alliance and its strategic action network to Congress, federal agencies, and applicable state government. She also coordinates activities and partnerships with fellow human service organizations and policy coalitions in Washington D.C. to advance aligned goals.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Levinson served as senior director of advocacy and public policy for YouthBuild USA, a national organization focused on reconnecting low-income, out-of-school youth to education and job training. Under her leadership, the organization more than doubled federal legislative support and increased annual federal investment by $12 million, to $90 million annually. She also cofounded the Reconnecting Youth Campaign, a national advocacy campaign focused on creating one million reconnection pathways for opportunity youth each year. She served as a legislative assistant from 2006-2011 in the office of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), focusing on furthering legislation to expand healthy food access to low-income residents, the promotion of green collar jobs, and efforts to re-engage out-of-school youth in education and employment opportunities. Levinson also spent time working in city government in New York City, organizing hiring events for victims of Superstorm Sandy in severely affected neighborhoods.

She received her master’s of public and nonprofit administration from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and her bachelor’s in social relations and psychology from Michigan State University.

Jay Paris
Director, Youth Link
North American Family Institute (NAFI)

Jay Paris is the Director of Youth Link, the North American Family Institute (NAFI), prevention division.  In this capacity, Mr. Paris directs the development and implementation of many initiatives in early intervention and prevention across the ten states where NAFI oversees programs. He also helped to create and now directs the Youth Police Initiative (YPI), a program that aids youth and police build trust and positive communication. He has also developed numerous youth leadership programs. YPI is been adopted by 32 cities across the country, including Boston, Kansas City, Providence, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and New York City, as well as Bermuda. During his 19 years at NAFI, he also has served on its Executive Committee, overseeing corporate development and marketing. Prior to joining NAFI, Paris co-founded and served as the director of an educational travel publishing company, Travel Review Publishing, Inc.  Through his career has had extensive management and editorial experience, as an editor of journalist. Mr. Paris has published widely in magazines and is the author of four books, including “Walking Nova Scotia,” which was a travel book best seller.

K. Bain
Founding Director, Cure Violence Model
Jacob Riis Settlement House

K. Bain is a serial social entrepreneur. He has cofounded and cultivated several nonprofit and for-profit organizations. He currently is a Cofounder, and the Executive Director of Community Capacity Development, a 501c3 committed to applying the Human and Healing Justice models to providing tools and strategies for sustainable growth.
K. Bain is also the founding director and visionary of 696 Build Queensbridge, which over the past 3 years has established itself as one of New York City's most effective cure violence sites with unprecedented results in violence interruption activities and mediation endeavors.

Previously, K Bain served as a New York City Director of legislation and budgetary affairs for the 45th Council district in Brooklyn. His role included duties such as; participating in the balancing New York City’s 90-billion-dollar annual budget, as well as direct oversight of a multi-million-dollar member item budget. K has also been instrumental in the drafting, development and enactment of numerous of pieces of legislation, most recently the Community Safety Act. This is landmark legislation originally consisting of five bills aimed at increasing police accountability, creating better community police relations and safer streets.
In addition to his years of budget and policy experience, K. Bain's passion for the arts, human justice and community capacity development remain at the forefront of his priorities.

K Bain is a highly sought-after consultant, community leader, advisor and guest speaker for various city agencies, educational institutions and nonprofits organizations both domestically and internationally.