Thursday, June 28, 2007

CeaseFire makes a difference

Eric Zorn has a great post on his “Change of Subject” blog today: “Road to ending violence starts in the streets”

Quoting a Chicago Ceasefire “violence interrupter”:
"People have been preaching to these guys for years," Hardiman said. "But they don't want to hear about God. Their god is money, violence, sex, drugs or whatever else sounds good to them at the time. They're not hearing that God message right now. They're committed to their lifestyle."
What works, Hardiman said, is "straight up, face-to-face meetings with them. Building trust. Finding out what's happening, putting a stop to conflict before it gets out of hand."
You don't do this by grandstanding or picketing. "You have to go right to the belly of the beast," Hardiman said. "You've got to be out on those streets, walking every block, showing these young people that you're with them, that peace is better for everybody."

I wrote a comment:
I am a firm believer in the effectiveness of what CeaseFire does. It is effective at interrupting violence and stopping the escalation of the violence. Its community basis and community relations (not in the advertising sense but relations developed with people in the community) are the reasons for its effectiveness.

CeaseFire and similar models are spreading outside of Chicago and re-proving that violence can be impacted and “stopped”, at least until we get the political will and wherewithal to tackle the more root causes that you mention. We have seen positive effects with our program in Waukegan and North Chicago and I look forward to continuing to work with the program. We also have a strong primary prevention component to our program, former offenders talking to young kids to head this behavior off before it starts.

I look forward to CeaseFire’s continued success to keep the victims of violence out of my office (Lake County Coroner) and offices like mine, let them live out their potential.

I do applaud CeaseFire’s efforts. It can make a difference.

No comments: