- Myles Francis
- Franklin N. Cosey-Gay
- Tanya L. Zakrison
Research Project Description
How can the Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program be used for survivors of firearm violence on Chicago's South Side as a new form of structural reparations? Firearm violence is the leading cause of injury on the South Side of Chicago. Given the realities of pervasive structural racism in the US, young African American men are disproportionately affected by firearm violence, comprising 78% of the admissions to our Level 1 Trauma Center at the University of Chicago. Most survivors live in disinvested census tracts, with families perpetually affected by the racial wealth gap. In 2019, Amnesty International highlighted the difficulties facing survivors of firearm violence in accessing victim compensation (VC). This support is multifaceted in that it helps survivors address a myriad of economic and mental health barriers that they face upon discharge from hospital, with up to $27,000 worth of support in Illinois. Support also exists for family members of survivors of violence. Without VC, it is felt that survivors of violence face a higher risk of mental and physical health problems, insecurity, revictimization and re-traumatization. VC may even play a role in minimizing trauma recidivism and homicide prevention. Only 6% of victims in the state of Illinois apply for victim compensation, the majority of whom are white men who speak English. This funding has the potential for expansion to all survivors and communities and may be used to address the structural violence and racism that lead to direct violence.
Using a mixed-methods approach, our research would explore 1) what barriers exist for our survivors and family members to access VC after an injury and 2) how VC can be expanded as a form of reparations for the state's failure to protect families against firearm violence. We would present these data to the State Attorney General to ensure access to VC is improved for all communities affected by firearm violence, who have been denied such access in the past.
Myles is a south-side resident working to address youth violence & promote trauma-informed care in Chicago's high-burden neighborhoods. As project manager at the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention, Myles has supported data collection and dissemination, contributed to community led events related to education and restorative justice and personally led a variety of community support initiatives in the wake of Covid 19.
Franklin N. Cosey-Gay
Franklin's research program examines the nature of community violence and what factors increase risk or serve to protect positive outcomes among urban youth from marginalized communities. His research has primarily focused on developing, implementing, and evaluating tested and effective school-based and family-based interventions across the youth developmental spectrum using a comprehensive and coordinated approach across multiple sectors and multiple social-ecological levels
Tanya L. Zakrison
Tanya Zakrison is a trauma surgeon at the University of Chicago. Located on the South Side, this trauma center is one of the busiest with one of the highest rates of gun violence in the country. Here, she directs the Critical Trauma Research program which formed the transdisciplinary "Practicing Radical Action by Expanding Inclusive Societies (PRAXIS) Consortium." PRAXIS conducts research that elucidates how structures of oppression lead to direct violence, in order to effect policy change.