Meet Marcus McAllister: Cure Violence National Trainer & “FIP”
By Ariyana Safarloo | June 2nd, 2015
“Formerly Incarcerated Professional” (FIP) is a profession not often seen on a list of job titles. And yet, it’s a term former offenders who are credible messengers for the Cure Violence health approach frequently use to describe their work. Marcus McAllister, a national trainer for Cure Violence, started his teen years as so many youth do who live in high risk, violent communities. The gang lifestyle was appealing and made what turned out to be very bad decisions that seemed like good ideas that made sense at the time. After spending over a decade in prison, Marcus was introduced to the Cure Violence program–starting off as a Violence Interrupter, then an Outreach Worker, and finally became a National Training Coordinator, where he teaches and trains other credible messengers in the Cure Violence health approach and working to prevent violence in communities throughout the US and the world.
“I was formerly incarcerated, but it shouldn’t stop me to be somebody good in society—somebody that can give back to society.” Marcus also shares a deep personal faith that he readily shares with anyone who asks him how he’s managed to stay strong for all these years. He has a wife and kids and lives in a suburb of Chicago — he’s achieved the proverbial “American Dream.”
Marcus and his Cure Violence staff colleagues are living examples to Cure Violence participants globally. Not only have they personally transformed their lives, changing their individual behavior, they are dedicating their lives to helping other high risk individuals make individual change and bring norm change to communities, stopping the transmission of violence, throughout the US and abroad.
In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”