370 Community-Based Mediators Working at 72 Gun Violence “Hot Spots”
For Extended Hours During Memorial Day Weekend
Click here to watch the press conference.
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A coalition of organizations working to reduce gun violence will have an additional 370 community-based mediators and street intervention workers working overtime during the holiday weekend at 72 “hot spot” locations across 12 Chicago neighborhoods. Chicago CRED and Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P) called this, “One of the largest violence prevention efforts in Chicago’s history,” during an online press conference with outreach workers.
CP4P represents a coalition of community groups working in 23 Chicago neighborhoods to reduce gun violence. CP4P Executive Director Vaughn Bryant says the “hot spot” strategy can help contain this year’s surge in gun violence. Year-to-date, fatal shooting are up 13 percent and non-fatal shootings are up 24 percent over 2019, according to the City dashboard.
“We know where the tensions are high, and we know that direct interventions from trusted friends and neighbors can help deescalate conflicts. These young men and women are using their experience and their relationships to make their communities safer and we should all be grateful,” Bryant said.
Chicago CRED helps steer young people at risk into the legal economy by offering street outreach, life coaching, therapy, job training, and financial support. Chicago CRED Founder Arne Duncan said, “For three years, gun violence in Chicago has been steadily declining and we’re doing everything possible to keep moving in that direction. The courageous young men and women doing this work are a big part of the solution.”
The “hot spot” program, which is also called FLIP (Flatlining Violence Inspires Peace), employs participants in violence prevention programs as mediators to help deescalate conflicts and create a community presence. They have also been cross-trained to provide public health information related to COVID-19.
The program began in 2018 at 21 sites in three communities, expanded to 55 sites in 8 communities in 2019, and is now targeting 72 sites in 12 South and West Side communities: Austin, West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Little Village, Englewood, West Englewood, Roseland, Greater Grand Crossing, West Pullman and Back of the Yards.
The FLIP program launched a month earlier this year than in past years, starting in late-April in some communities and is expected to run all summer and into the fall if funding is available. The total cost of the program is approximately $2.7 million.
Jalon Arthur, CRED Director of Strategic Initiatives, oversees the “hot spot” strategy implemented by seasoned CP4P and CRED partners: INVC, ALSO, Breakthrough, UCAN, New Life, Target, Acclivus, and CRED. He believes this strategy contributed to drops in gun violence during the last couple of summers but acknowledges this is, “One strategy among many that are collectively working to transform communities over time, and the impact in 2020 remains to be seen.”
In light of the COVID-19 social distancing and stay-at-home directives, we have been gifted the opportunity to engage our participants in real and interactive virtual conversations with celebrities, experts, influencers, industry leaders and more. As such, we are producing a series of interesting, informative, entertaining and engaging Virtual Interactive Interviews we are calling “CREDTALKS."
Click the links below to watch:
Caron Butler is a former NBA player for the Miami Heat, LA Lakers, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, and LA Clippers to name a few. Butler is a two-time NBA All-Star and was the 2002 Big East Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year.
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Dr. Omar Lateef, CEO of Rush University Medical Center & Dr. Khalilah Gates, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care and Medical Education at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.
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Real Redemption: From Life Sentence to Life Saving with CRED Life Coach, Father of Englewood's own "Lil Dirk" and Former Life Sentenced Inmate, Dontay Banks.
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A Mother's Love, Loss, and Legacy: Stephanie Brown, a mom turned Violence Prevention Activist after the senseless murder of her son (Darius Brown) at the hands of a drive-by shooter on a basketball court.
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NBA All-Star Luol Deng talks NBA, Philanthropy, and Chicago.
Over Labor Day weekend 2019, a group of 80 Chicago CRED members, staff, friends and family traveled from Chicago to Washington, D.C. to tour the historic Nation’s Capital.
Highlights of the trip included visits to African American cultural landmarks, including Howard University and the African American History museum. The trip also allowed the CRED men to leave Chicago during the holiday weekend, historically a period of heightened violent crime in the city.
In a ceremony on August 15, 2019 a crowd of family, friends and fellow CRED members celebrated as 52 graduates received their diplomas. The afternoon featured speeches from students and mentors, concluding with a spoken word performance from Grammy-winner J Ivy.
WTTW in Chicago profiled CRED's approach to solving the epidemic of gun violence in Chicago, at a time when the city deals with the annual summer increase in shootings.
The ConTextos Authors Circle was developed in collaboration with young people at-risk of, victims of, or perpetrators of violence in El Salvador. In 2017, this innovative program expanded into Chicago to create tangible, high quality opportunities that nourish the minds, expand the voices and share the personal truths of individuals who have long been underserved and underestimated. Through the process of drafting, revising, and publishing memoirs, participants develop self-reflection, critical thinking, camaraderie, and positive self-projection to author new life narratives.
On Friday, April 6, 2018, 24 more young men from Chicago CRED walked across the graduation stage. After months of work through Penn Foster's online degree program, they earned high school diplomas—another step in the journey toward transforming their lives and communities.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Emerson Collective Managing Partner Arne Duncan said, "Despite all the challenges and all the pain you sometimes feel, I am wildly optimistic about where our city is going to go. And it's not because of what us older folk are going to do. It's going to be because of your hard work, your leadership."
At NationSwell’s fifth annual Summit, Billy joined Emerson Collective Managing Partner Arne Duncan and two recent Chicago CRED graduates, James Collins and Deontae Allison, for an hourlong discussion to explore better avenues to dramatically curb shootings in one of our nation’s greatest cities. In the context of the work of Chicago CRED, Arne, Billy, James and Deontae implored the audience to draw closer to the root causes of gun violence, and to better understand the young men involved in some of Chicago’s most broken neighborhoods—and, most importantly, how peace and safety begins with creating new, reimagined relationships.
On March 24, 2018, millions of young people rallied around the world to end gun violence and enact policy reform. Men from Chicago CRED joined more than 400 Chicago youth at the event, adding their voices on behalf of the movement to end gun violence in Chicago.
Arne Duncan and Dale Erquiaga Op Ed in USA Today
Men from Chicago CRED recently participated in the ConTextos Chicago Project, an intensive writing program that incorporates peaceful conflict resolution with the power of personal memoir writing. The authors learned to “read as writers” as they authored powerful memoirs, engaged in constant conversation with their peers to learn how to disagree peacefully and give positive feedback, and finally publish their work in the form of beautifully illustrated books. These stories will be used to create conversations that build empathy with families, teachers, the community and others.
The CRED men have written a rich array of stories that are as varied as they are, each illuminating a personal journey marked by perseverance, hope, and a determination for many new chapters ahead.