CeaseFire hosts year-end peace dinner

Group works to stop violence retaliation especially in Chicago neighborhoods.

December 27, 2012

A popular violence interruption program is hosting a year-end peace dinner tonight. But organizers from CeaseFire are also thinking about what it can do to quell conflict in 2013.

CeaseFire mediated more than 700 conflicts this year - mostly in Chicago neighborhoods.

Hundreds of high-risk young people are now in job, education or substance treatment programs.

CeaseFire will honor them and other successes this year, said executive director Tio Hardiman.

“For example, in the West Englewood community the CeaseFire zones, we’re currently experiencing from this year compared to last year a 50 percent reduction in homicides in the areas we work in,” Hardiman said.

But Hardiman is aware that the number of Chicago homicides this year are poised to exceed the past several years. He says petty squabbles often turn deadly; intra-gang involves gunplay and became more intense in 2012.

So in 2013, Hardiman says CeaseFire will drill down and do more targeted work in neighborhood hot spots. Those include South Shore, the Southwest Side and Austin.

Hardiman said various community groups need to come together “and strategize so we can look at these homicides everyday and prevent them on the front end.”

Tonight’s dinner is at 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 1250 W. 119th Street.