“What we have before us are some breathtaking opportunities disguised as insoluble problems.”
John Gardner, 1965
5:58 am. My alarm goes off. The news comes on, blaring: Five children shot in Chicago’s Park Manor neighborhood – one in the neck, one in the abdomen. They are hospitalized at Stroger, Comer, St. Bernard hospitals. The shootings were the result of an argument in a park, we’re told.
Children. Shot. Chicago. News I hear so often it threatens to become background chatter – or fodder for despair.
It’s easy to despair , to get overwhelmed, to imagine that the problem of violence is too big and too intractable to solve. What we actually have – in the words of John Gardner – is a breathtaking opportunity disguised as an insoluble problem.
Violence can be successfully treated using a health approach. Cure Violence has seen that these past 14 years, beginning with a 67% reduction in violence in Chicago’s West Garfield Park when the model was piloted in 2000. We continue to see success. The Chicago neighborhoods where Cure Violence operated in 2013 (as CeaseFire) experienced, overall, 28% reductions in shooting incidents and 23% reductions in homicides.
So why is Chicago still reeling from shootings and homicides? Simply put, Cure Violence/CeaseFire operates in only 1/4 to 1/3 of the neighborhoods where violence is still endemic – where this health approach is needed most.
To help Cure Violence/CeaseFire get into more Chicago communities, a very generous local foundation has challenged Cure Violence to find new supporters for its Chicago CeaseFire program. They’ve agreed to match, dollar for dollar, every dollar we raise in 2014 from new supporters – up to $100,000.
These funds will keep violence interrupters and outreach workers on the streets and in three level-one trauma hospitals. They’ll help create safe streets so children can walk to school without fear. They’ll encourage new businesses and jobs and economic development. All of this comes when violence goes. That’s the breathtaking opportunity we have before us.
Can we count on your to support Chicago’s Challenge? Make a gift today at www.cureviolence.org.
Patricia Broughton, CFRE, is the Director of Development for Cure Violence. Working for Cure Violence fulfills her heart’s desire to help solve one of the world’s seemingly intractable problems.