The United States is not an easy place to deal with loss. As art therapist Rochele Royster frankly put it to The Trace’s Justin Agrelo last year: “We don’t do grief well as a society.” We have a tendency to neglect grief, she argued, and even avoid acknowledging it altogether. “It’s an act of resistance,” Royster said, “to not be erased or have our pain erased.”

For many Americans who have lost loved ones to gun violence, that act of resistance can be complicated by a lack of mental health care support and other services. Research has found that the likelihood of psychiatric diagnoses increased by 52 percent following a shooting; correlating research shows that marginalized communities, which are the most vulnerable to gun violence, do not have equitable access to mental health care resources. In a 2022 survey, the Alliance for Safety and Justice found that 96 percent of violent crime victims did not receive financial compensation and 74 percent did not receive counseling or mental health support.

Brenda Glass understands the struggle. Glass is the founding director of a namesake trauma recovery center in Cleveland. She established the center in 2018 to provide the services that survivors, herself included, need. “For gun violence victims, there is usually never anyone there willing to support them resourcefully,” Glass told The Trace’s Fairriona Magee, “so we make sure we are there for them.”

The services offered through the Brenda Glass Trauma Recovery Center — part of a national network of facilities providing trauma recovery support — proved critical to helping Alexis Jackson begin to heal from the grief of losing her daughter Abe’bre’anna, who was shot and killed in their home two years ago. Jackson, the subject of Magee’s latest story, credits the center with saving her life — and inspiring her to take her own steps to fix a system she considers fundamentally broken. “[Glass] encouraged me without judging me,” Jackson said. “That was everything to me.”

From The Trace

New this week.

Losing Her Daughter to Gunfire Left Her Inconsolable. A Trauma Recovery Center Saved Her Life.

Alexis Jackson found unexpected support among trauma survivors and was inspired to form her own Cleveland collective for victims of gun violence.

After Showing Promise in Four Cities, a Collaborative Anti-Violence Initiative Expands to Four More

The Coalition to Advance Public Safety hopes to replicate and refine its model of community-driven violence reduction as it adds a new cohort.

In A Decade, Firearm Deaths Among Young Black People in Rural America Have Quadrupled

A new analysis of CDC data shows that increasing fatality rates among Black children and teens are on par with cities, and are primarily driven by a rise in homicides.

The Neighborhoods Missing From Chicago’s Community Safety Plans

While shootings decreased overall in Chicago last year, the opposite was true in 17 neighborhoods. Residents and organizers in areas where shootings rose say numbers don’t tell the whole story.

What to Know This Week

Anti-government and far-right extremists — many of whom are animated by gun rights — are using Facebook to recruit new members and coordinate local militia activity across the country; they are also advertising combat training and urging followers to prepare for “war.” Facebook bans paramilitary organizing, yet of the around 200 groups and profiles identified by reporting, most remain active on the platform. [WIRED

Four law enforcement officers were killed and several others wounded in a shooting that broke out as they tried to serve a warrant for illegal firearm possession at a home in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday. The deaths in Charlotte, along with a stark increase in shootings of officers nationwide, appears to bear out years of warnings from law enforcement officials that relaxing gun laws would lead to more violence against police. [CNN/The Christian Science Monitor

After experiencing a surge in gun violence during the pandemic, Detroit last year recorded the fewest homicides since 1966 and a 16 percent drop in nonfatal shootings. The key to the city’s success? Officials credit investment in violence intervention, prioritizing community outreach for prosecutors, and changing how police respond to calls. [Vox

National Rifle Association members have elected a slate of reform-minded candidates to the group’s board of directors. Phillip Journey, Rocky Marshall, Jeffrey Knox, and Dennis Fusaro ran in opposition to the regime of recently departed CEO Wayne LaPierre. Several candidates viewed as LaPierre loyalists failed to win seats. The NRA has a 76-member board, so the bloc of avowed reformers remains relatively small. However, Journey, Marshall, and Knox were among the top vote-getters. “The members have spoken loud and clear,” said Journey, who expects a showdown over the direction of the organization at the group’s annual meeting later this month in Dallas. “Now the real work begins.” —Will Van Sant

In Memoriam

Malachi Williams, 22, was a brainiac. A regular at the public library in San Marcos, Texas, Williams loved reading from a young age; in a video of him as a teenager, per the Austin American-Statesman, he’s seen describing himself using three objects on his desk: a book, a chess rook, and a video game controller. Williams was shot and killed by a San Marcos police officer in April, amid an apparent mental health episode, though body-worn camera footage of the event has not been released. Williams was “unhoused, but not unloved” when he died, his family said. Community members told FOX7 that he was a friendly face for local business owners and residents — “I loved his heart,” said a local pastor — and remembered his love of anime. He had a “dorky” sense of humor, his sisters said. One noted that he finished his home-schooling at 14, and laughed as she said: “Man, he had a big head. … But that’s because he was so smart.”

We Recommend

How Attacks on Energy Substations Play Into the Hands of Extremists: “Look around any town: The infrastructure supporting the grid is hiding in plain sight. … The FBI made arrests in three different white supremacist plots involving substations, all interrupted in 2020. In one case, three men who met through a neo-Nazi chat room planned to shoot up substations to take down the national energy grid.” [High Country News]

Pull Quote

“Statistically, less than 2 percent of our community is ever going to shoot a gun. … It really matters whether or not they get the good, wraparound services. It really matters that they have mentors that care.”

— Alia Harvey-Quinn, the founder of FORCE Detroit, a community violence intervention program, on what contributed to the drop in homicides and nonfatal shootings in Detroit in 2023, to Vox