Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Journal 16: Violence Prevention

An issue that I am very passionate about is violence. When we had the ED190 violence facilitation day, I was very devastated by the experiences that people shared. It also reminded me of the violence that I’ve seen in my own lives and within my friends and communities. So when I found out about the Prevention Institute and Cease Fire Chicago through my Public Health 116, it gave me so much hope thinking that there were effective ways of ending violence.

As the article reveals, Prevention Institute focuses on ending violence through a more comprehensive approach rather than the simple act of strengthening law enforcement. Prevention Institute works at multiple levels – from community organizers to legislators – to ensure that the city is working together to end violence. They also work on different levels of intervention – violence “upfront”, “in the thick”, and the “aftermath”. Thus, there work doesn’t end at one point but continues until violence can be successfully reduced.

The CeaseFire Chicago model is one of the models that really follows the ideas outlined by the Prevention Institute. Statistics have shown that CeaseFire was able to reduce shootings and killings in CeaseFire zones by 41-73%. They have also been able to end retaliation murders in 5 out of neighborhoods. They do so by bringing in community members to become gang interrupters that actively seek out folks and try to appease any conflicts. They also collaborate with the city to ensure that violence is understood and actively being fought against at many different levels.

Thus, these two programs makes me think about how ending violence is possible with the right framework in mind. Rather than believing that we are all meant to compete with another in this world, these two programs show that issues in education, such as violence, can be addressed if we all work together on multiple levels to end these problems. I truly admire the violence interrupters in CeaseFire because they struggle everyday to try and make sure violence does not occur. Many of them are people who come from those communities and are trying to actively end the problems they’ve dealt with in their own lives so that others do not have to go through the same thing. To me, they truly come from a place of love for their communities – a love similar to what bell hooks was thinking of.

http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-144/127.html

http://www.ceasefirechicago.org/

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