It's hard to track down Ameena Matthews. She's constantly on call, always ready to keep conflicts in the city's most dangerous neighborhoods from escalating to homicide. But she wasn't always the one breaking up the fights and trying to keep the peace — Matthews will tell you herself, she didn't think she'd live to see 25, as most of her youth was wrapped up in life on the streets.
Three hundred African-American and Latino young men are set to gather Friday for a pre-New Year’s Eve peace summit.CeaseFire, the anti-violence group, will host the summit on Chicago’s West Side.Illinois Director Tio Hardiman said there’s a lot of conflict currently infecting the streets.
Quelling violence on the streets is not just about guns; even petty arguments can push people over the edge. So, some local people, such as CeaseFire's violence interruptors, insert themselves into the midst of altercations to prevent dangerous reactions.
In June, a fifth person was found guilty in the death of Derrion Albert, the 16-year-old Chicago honor roll student beaten to death on the street in 2009.A graphic cellphone video captured the attack and made Albert's homicide a national story, but it was only one of hundreds investigated by Chicago