‘It’s just such a relief’: Local community activist, PHMDC react to $1 million violence prevention effort

MADISON, Wis. — Lindsey Buscher has spent years working to prevent violence in the Madison community and none have been more challenging than the past two. 

“The gun violence over the past two years during the pandemic has been exacerbated,” Buscher said.

That’s why Buscher, a member of Moms Demand Action, has spent her time hoping to convince public health officials to invest resources into preventing violence. 

“Just to be able to employ well-trained people, pay these people real money to learn how to interact with victims and people before they become a suspect,” she said.

Buscher’s call for help was answered Monday when Public Health Madison & Dane County announced it will be awarding $1 million over the next two years to programs within the community that work to stop violence before it happens. 

RELATED: PHMDC to give $1 million to violence prevention efforts

“We’re excited to have the organizations in Madison and Dane County help Public Health to make our community safer,” said Cindy Grady, a supervisor with PHMDC’s violence prevention team. “In one neighborhood, it might be access to childcare. (In) another community, it might be increased access to education or mental health services. So depending on the types of organizations that serve different communities, they will tell us what the communities need and the communities will also tell us what they need.”

Buscher’s hope is that this program will make an immediate impact.

Specifically, Buscher pointed to a record high level of homicides in both 2020 and 2021 as something that needs to change as soon as possible. 

For now, she will take time to reflect on all of that hard work that has paid off. 

“When you work on something, anything and you see it happening…it’s just such a relief,” Buscher said.