Delaware State University is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to research gun violence.
DSU joins three other HBCU’s - Coppin State University in Baltimore, Texas State University in Houston, and Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi - participating in the research project to better understand why some young urban males carry guns.
DSU will receive $166,290 over two years for its role - which comes from a $1 million grant awarded to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Dr. Dorothy Dillard is the director of DSU’s Center for Neighborhood Revitalization and Research and is taking part in the project.
"We have a concern about as many people do and want to better understand what's happening and why we haven't been able to have much impact on reducing that gun violence and helping to create other options for kids," said Dillard.
The research will look at existing data, as well as trends and factors from past analysis, while also interviewing 150 males who currently or have possessed a gun for the lived experience according to Dillard.
"We really don't know from the young men who are in these positions and find themselves needing to have a weapon of some sort - a dangerous weapon - and what that means to them and what it would take to be comfortable not carrying a weapon," said Dillard.
She says the project is just getting underway.
"We're in the beginning stages of creating the training program for the graduate students, getting the interview guide ready, and figuring out our processes so that they are similar across all four sites, and we'll begin recruitment later in the spring and that will be primarily by word of mouth and we'll be compensating the young men who agree to talk with us."
The interviews will be conducted with males between the ages of 15-24 in the Wilmington area, and for their safety they will be kept anonymous.