I first heard of Cure Violence when I saw Rachel Maddow interview the director of the Illinois program, almost two years ago. Hearing the director describe the role of a Violence Interrupter, sounded to me as the exact right approach to gang violence…folks who were well known in their community, now taking on responsibilities for watching over their community and help keep the kids safer and give them a chance to grow up without fear and violence. I greatly respected the risk these Interrupters put themselves in, putting their bodies in front of the barrels of guns to get a chance to talk down the fighters, and break the cycle of violence in real time, right there on the spot. Pretty damn bold. I wanted to support that.
I then saw the documentary “The Interrupters” and was even more impressed by these strong folks. I read more about Cure Violence and Dr. Gary Slutkin’s unique insights into the contagion of violence and how to train and develop a new kind of “community health worker,” a Violence Interrupter, to engage youth and mediate high-risk conflicts before they turn violent in a community. A long conversation with Cure Violence’s fundraiser motivated me to become a monthly donor to Cure Violence.
When I was asked to be interviewed for a book which would provide wider visibility to Cure Violence, I was surprised and honored. I was being given the opportunity to help. This week, New York Times best- selling authors Nick Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn released their new book, A Path Appears. Amazon.com calls the book “an essential, galvanizing narrative about making a difference here and abroad – a road map to becoming the most effective global citizens we can be.” I never thought my story would be part of a book!
The experience of the being interviewed by Nick and Sheryl for the book caused me to look at how much I was donating regularly to causes I support, and ask myself if I could find the money for more donations. Well, the answer was “yes,” and I have now added two additional organizations to my monthly contributions.
The older I get, the more I want to feel like I have had a meaningful life. I gain that feeling from helping others. Supporting the good work of Cure Violence is one very important way to do that.
About Cure Violence:
The Cure Violence Health Model uses the same three components that are used to reverse epidemic disease outbreaks.
• Detecting and interrupting conflicts
• Identifying and treating the highest risk individuals; and
• Changing community norms.
The model is now being replicated in in more than 50 sites around the world and is commonly referred to as the Cure Violence approach.