Nonprofit educates women about buying, storing guns

February 15, 2013
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Citizens for Safety (CFS), a nonprofit located at 31 Heath St., is looking for more than a cosmetic solution to gun violence with a program called LIPSTICK.

“LIPSTICK,” or “Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killing,” is a workshop run by CFS. Nancy Robinson, executive director of CFS, said research shows that women often buy or store guns for boyfriends, husbands or acquaintances who can’t buy or possess them legally because they are felons. LIPSTICK educates women about the dangers of doing so.

“These are the guns used to maim and kill people,” said Robinson in a recent Gazette interview.

She said LIPSTICK is a relatively new program, starting several months ago. CFS has so far conducted four workshops at domestic violence shelters, such as Rosie’s Place in the South End.

“This is by women for women,” said Robinson.

One of the women who has helped lead the workshops is Kim Odom, who lost her 13-year-old son Steven in a case of mistaken identity during a gang dispute in Dorchester in an infamous 2007 case.

Robinson said the attendees of the workshop “welcome the information” and find it “eye-opening.” She said during a workshop at Rosie’s Place, one woman told a story about losing her public housing lease after being caught holding an illegal gun.

“It really hit home,” said Robinson.

She said CFS is attempting to obtain more funding, so it can expand the workshops to housing developments and prisons. Robinson said CFS is also partnering with Harvard School of Public Health and hopes to have more research conducted about the issue.

“There is so much we need to learn about it,” she said. “We are just getting started.”

Robinson said CFS is also partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, the state Department of Public Safety and Security and the Suffolk County District Attorney.

She said CFS works closely with residents of the Bromley-Heath housing development. Robinson pointed to Mildred Hailey and Jacque Furtado, former members of the Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation, which used to run the development, as two examples.

CFS previously ran a workshop called Traffic Jam that educated people about illegal gun trafficking.