Day 282: CeaseFire Illinois
I spent the majority of my day today as a spark at UXXU 2011. My job was to learn and ask questions to help these top designers and thinkers work out a way to help social good organizations expand their reach. It was a very thought provoking way to spend the day, I was very intrigued and moved by a few of the projects and organizations. One of the groups was focused on creating action plans for CeaseFire, an organization that works to combat violence in Chicago and globally. I was really drawn to their Violence Interrupter program, these are community members who are actively working to stop violence from happening by trying to peacefully resolve conflicts. I sat and listen to Dr. Slutkin briefly tell a story how one Interrupter was able to subdue two possible unrelated conflicts by having the first group help him resolve the second unrelated conflict. It’s truly amazing the power we can have as a community if we step up and take action and work together to stop the unnecessary violence. Please take a look at CeaseFire’s mission and program and share with friends and families in communities that can benefit from their presence. Also, check out the documentary The Interrupters, it’s incredibly moving.
Watching the girl in this video, just brought this memory to mind. I grew up in Chicago and my first neighborhood had a lot of gang activity, our building was always getting tagged and gang members would hang out front and throw bottles at the passing cars at night. When I was five years old, I vividly remember riding my bike outside with my sister, who was three years old, in front of our house in the middle of a day on a Saturday and heard a “pop pop pop.” It was a drive by shooting about 50 feet from where we were playing. A family friend grabbed me and my sister and told us to get inside and don’t come out. Naturally, I wanted to know what happened. I ran upstairs to look out the windows to get a better view and saw all these people crowding around a teenager who was shot, they carried him to a van and waited for the ambulance and police. Once all the dust had cleared and everyone had dispersed, the curious boy in me decided to “go to the store” as I walked past the scene of the crime I looked down and saw the pool of blood and matter that had resulted from the shooting and realized then what had happened. I was five, these experiences are not uncommon for children in many neighborhoods across Chicago. My hope is that the work of CeaseFire can spread like wildfire and more children can live and play in safe zones free from the fear or threat of violence.
CeaseFire launched in West Garfield Park, one of the most violent communities in Chicago in 2000 and was quick to produce results reducing shootings by 67% in its first year. CeaseFire’s results have since been replicated more than 18 times in Chicago and throughout Illinois and has now been statistically proven by an extensive, U.S. Department of Justice funded, independent three-year evaluation. This evaluation scientifically-validated CeaseFire’s success in reducing shootings and killings by 41% to 73% and demonstrated a 100% success rate in reducing retaliatory killings in five of the eight communities examined. The Model has been replicated more than a dozen times nationally and has two international sites in Iraq.
The mission of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention is to: a) work with community and government partners to reduce violence in all forms; and, b) help design interventions required to better define what should be included in a community or city anti-violence plan.
Amount Donated: $20
To support Ceasefire Illinois, please visit: http://www.ceasefirechicago.org