Alumnus aims to prevent violence in New Orleans through youth engagement

Tess Riley, News Editor

Tulane alumnus Peter Gold made a promise to prevent further violence in New Orleans after surviving a shooting as a medical student and later facing his attacker in court.

“I will dedicate the rest of my life to work with and support those who want to change our culture, who don’t want to see what happened on November 20, 2015, happen again,” Gold said in a statement to gunman Euric Cain. “There is no reason for this terror. We can be better and working as one community, we will be stronger.”

Gold recently began working on this promise by starting a nonprofit organization called Strong City. The organization supports community-based groups that are leading the way in empowering underserved youth by providing fundraising and professional networks.

After analyzing his experience with violence in New Orleans, Gold decided to get involved by addressing what he believes to be the “root” of the problem: the obstacles faced by underserved youth. Gold said he hopes to connect the city’s youth with resources and support that will deter them from engaging in violent activity later in life.

“I think all of us have always said to ourselves, ‘Not everyone has as much opportunity as I have … I’m really lucky,’ but unfortunately for a lot of us we just say it, and it took me getting shot to actually step up and do something about it,” Gold said.

Strong City is partnered with the New Orleans-based Youth Empowerment Project, which anchors its work in the values of integrity, kindness, respect, accountability and progress. One of YEP’s main goals is helping underserved youth develop life-long skills and strengthen ties to their families and the communities in which they grow up.

“By starting at the root and focusing on youth who are beginning their developmental journey, we feel like that is the best way to start to change this negative cycle of poverty, of violence and turn it into a positive change that the community can grow from and become stronger from,” Gold said.

Gold chose YEP as Strong City’s first community partner because of its success in engaging young people through community-based education, mentoring and employment readiness programs.

New Orleans is Strong City’s “first city,” though the group plans to expand its work nationwide. Currently, 34 percent of children in New Orleans live in poverty and half of convicted murderers in the city are 23 years old or younger.

“In the end, we want to expand to other cities around the country and then begin to connect these community organizations together, and then from there begin to connect kids who are going through the same issues and the same problems,” Gold said.

Gold said he wishes he had more insight as an undergraduate student to get involved in Tulane’s service opportunities. He believes Tulane students have a unique opportunity to help others in the New Orleans community and created Strong City alongside nine of his closest friends from his time at Tulane.

“For all of us, having gone to Tulane either in undergrad or medical school or both, we are really excited to come back to New Orleans and do it in a meaningful way,” Gold said.

Those wishing to donate their time, expertise or money to help Strong City further its cause can do so by visiting the organization’s website.

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