Hey, I'm really lucky to be here today with Lauren Footman, the Director of Outreach and Equity at the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. Welcome, Lauren. Thanks Josh, I'm really excited to be here with you also. Now, can you tell me a little bit about your role as Director of Outreach and Equity? Yeah, absolutely. So as the Director of Outreach and Equity at Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, I specifically work with communities that are most impacted by violence, and work to ensure that they are a part of the policymaking process, and making sure that as we continue our work as a organization, that we're promoting evidence-based policies and programs in target states, working with community organizations and also some of the state partners that we've developed over the years. Another part of my role is also that I have the great pleasure of working as a [inaudible] department partner to really develop and implement our diversity, equity, and inclusion work as it relates to our operations, programs, policies, and partnerships, which ties very nicely to our engaging impacted communities work, ensuring that our work considers those that are under-represented in all aspects of our organization. So today we're part of a teach out about the extreme risk protection order. Sometimes we call that ERPO. Yes. So from your perspective, how can ERPO be a resource for your community? Thanks for that question, Josh. I think that ERPO can be a resource for my community because it provides a civil tool for those at risk to potentially harm themselves or others to not only prevent that particular violent interaction or act, but also provide them the opportunity to get maybe assistance that they wouldn't need from some type of professional. So I think that it provides another tool. Specifically, when I think about communities of color, I'm thinking about how it's a civil tool and not really a criminal tool. I think that it provides another option or another resource to communities to really prevent violence before it occurs. Thanks. So what are some of the methods that you've seen, or you've used, or others have used to educate communities about ERPO? Yeah, absolutely. So I think before we can educate communities about any policy or program that we are focusing on, it really starts with taking the time to build authentic relationships and maintaining them over time. Because we've recognized that people really want, particularly communities that are under-represented or disproportionately impacted by violence, want to really know that people are committed and have their best interests at heart. So before thinking about any of our strategies that we implement, we take the time to build authentic relationships and maintaining them. But outside of building those relationships and building on top of that, we start to be intentional to connect with diverse networks, whether it's community groups, faith leaders, service providers, and even law enforcement, to really think about how they are aware of ERPO if they are not, and really providing them distilled evidence-based information on what the tool is. Whether it's do virtual gatherings, whether it's do small individual one-on-one conversations, but really making sure that we're making them aware of the tool, really emphasizing that it is civil not criminal in intent, and then really making sure that the information is distilled, but also making sure that there is an ongoing conversation because we think that it can be a lot to [inaudible] they understand, but making sure we're building that relationship, meeting them where they are. So going to existing community forums, having our own community forums, and then also keeping the conversation open. One of the great things that we have available on our website is also some fact sheets that explain what ERPOs do, but also providing resources as it relates to what are some of our equity considerations, as it will relate to communities of color specifically, because I think a big part of our work is considering an equity's and unintended consequences in making sure that communities that have disproportionately been impacted by gun violence or could be disproportionately impacted, are more justice involved, are aware that these are things that we're considering. So we make sure that not only are we having the conversation, but it's informed with our public health and equity lens. Let's distill down a little bit on that equity lens for a minute. I mean, you're the Director of Equity for the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. What do you think implementers need to consider about equity? I know data collection and transparency have played a big role. What do you think we need to do to make sure ERPO is implemented equitably? Absolutely. So I think that we need to, Number 1, consider the communities that could be disproportionately impacted, whether it's based on race or ethnicity and/or people in the LGBTQ community. So Number 1, identifying who are the groups that could be disproportionately impacted, and thinking through the training that may need to be available to those implementing the ERPOs, and also continuous stakeholder engagement. Also, a big part of considering equity in the implementation of ERPO, any other policy is really taking into consideration the current context. When we think about the current context as it relates to communities of color, understanding their historical and contemporary relationship with the justice system, and just understanding potential apprehension that they may have. Really taking the time to not only ensure that people are educated, informed about the equity considerations, but taking the time to also understand the current context in which we're operating that may impact how people perceive and or understand of the law. Then you mentioned, of course, data collection. At any point in time for any law, we want to make sure that we are not over correcting or projecting certain inequities at the outset of the law. But making sure that we're having data along the way to track different aspects of identity. It's something that we can review over time because data will be so integral and understanding if we have the appropriate ground laws in place in the legislation or if we need to make amendments over time in the future. Well, that's great. It sounds like you thought about this a lot and I personally always appreciate your counsel on these issues, especially about guardrails and all the other issues. Thank you so much for that. It seems to me that we're talking about gun violence prevention when we talk about equity. How does gun violence prevention fit in with the whole purpose strategy and how many that increase equity? Yes. Absolutely. For the first part of your question Josh, when we think about the prevention strategy, it is looking to intervene before an act of violence occurs. Not only are you helping the person that is on perpetuating the potential violence, but also those that they may harm. It is a preventative tool that allows us to intervene. It seems that someone may be at risk of harming themselves or others. When we think about equity, one of the things that is great is that, I think, with the development of ERPO , it is clear that with this intention that number one, that it is civil and not criminal, and that developers of ERPO also have began to really discussed and think about what these guardrails are. I think number one, underscoring that it's civil and not criminal. That also it intervenes prior to an act of violence occurring, which is what we want to do. We definitely have intervention strategies, but if we can work to create policies that prevent gun violence, that's what we definitely want to do. Then also, I think that there was a lot of opportunity as it continues to be implemented and we collect data to think about, do we have the appropriate guardrails or do we need an additional guardrails? Great. That's really helpful and helps you apply the public health strategy. Thinking about how you get a little bit more upstream before something happens. That's really helpful. Thank you. Last question. There's going to be people out there who say, ''We have ERPO in our state, or we 'd like to have ERPO in our state. I know that you've done a lot of work in the communities, especially in Virginia, and Philadelphia, and some other places. How do you raise awareness about a policy like ERPO and get people to really get the facts? I think number one is making sure that the information is publicly accessible. Also, the advocacy organization making sure that we are taking this information and meeting people where they are and not really making assumptions. I think sometimes when we hear a certain policies, we can think a community may feel this way. But I think a big part of really our equity work is understanding that there may be a historic and collective experience with a certain institution, and or with certain types of policies. But really taking our time to have those one-on-one interactions and then also providing people the facts and keeping the line of communication open. But a big part is having the relationships to begin with and maintaining and building authentic relationships. They do see you as a trusted resource because we recognize in our work. Once you already have those relationships, I think it provides the opportunity for people to hear a holistic perspective. But as another part of that, as we collect the data, it's the on going transparency. As we've encouraged localities to collect the data it's involving and keeping community abreast and engaged. If there are amendments or if there are certain key findings of research that follows, that looks specifically at the equity considerations. It's starting the conversation and as we continue to collect data in or potentially make amendments to ERPO in the future. Making sure that communities of color are not only being considered, but there are a part of those decisions. Long-term engagement, meeting people where they're at, seems like a real key of what you do. Thank you for spends some time with us today. I am very appreciative and have a great day. Thanks Josh.