WBEZ | CeaseFire http://www.wbez.org/tags/ceasefire Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Unwelcome summer break for Chicago violence prevention program http://www.wbez.org/news/unwelcome-summer-break-chicago-violence-prevention-program-107959 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ceasefire_sh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Every June, Ceasefire sites across Chicago get an email saying that their program will shut down starting July 1st, and until further notice.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because it&rsquo;s the beginning of the state&rsquo;s fiscal year, and there is a gap before when the state sends out money and the organization can process it.</p><p>Many social service programs face a similar funding gap.&nbsp; But Josh Gryniewicz of Ceasefire says that it&rsquo;s particularly challenging for Ceasefire. Summer months are violent and it&rsquo;s when the program&rsquo;s staff, who intervene conflicts, are most needed.</p><p>&ldquo;It just an unfortunate perfect storm,&rdquo; said Gryniewicz.</p><p>In the past, workers have been on hiatus anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months.<br />But Gryniewicz expects this year to be the shortest gap yet. That&rsquo;s because all the ceasefire sites got their budgets in ahead of time and the program is getting help streamlining the budget process.</p><p>A handful of Ceasefire sites with additional funding are still in operation.The program is looking for individual donations to keep other programs open.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Fri, 05 Jul 2013 12:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/unwelcome-summer-break-chicago-violence-prevention-program-107959 Head of CeaseFire Illinois charged with battery http://www.wbez.org/news/head-ceasefire-illinois-charged-battery-107468 <p><p>HILLSIDE, Ill. &mdash; Suburban Chicago police say the head of an anti-violence organization is facing a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.</p><p>Hillside Police Chief Joseph Lukaszek says Tio Hardiman was arrested Friday after his wife came to the police station and &quot;presented injuries.&quot;</p><p>Hardiman is the executive director of Ceasefire Illinois, a violence prevention group that interacts with Chicago gang members.</p><p>Lukaszek says Hardiman was arrested at home and will remain in custody until Saturday&#39;s bond hearing in Maywood.</p><p>A spokesman said the organization was &quot;troubled&quot; with the charge and was &quot;looking into appropriate actions.&quot;</p><p>CeaseFire got $1 million from Chicago to help reduce crime in two neighborhoods. A health department spokesman said the city&#39;s waiting to determine if the arrest will have any impact on the partnership.</p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 13:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/head-ceasefire-illinois-charged-battery-107468 Year 25: Ameena Matthews http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ameena-matthews-105541 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79283061" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>It&#39;s hard to track down Ameena Matthews.</p><p>She&#39;s constantly on call, always ready to keep conflicts in the city&#39;s most&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ameena.jpeg" style="float: right;" title="(Photo courtesy of Kartemquin Films)" />dangerous neighborhoods from escalating to homicide.</p><p>Matthews is a violence interrupter with <a href="http://cureviolence.org/">CeaseFire Illinois</a>. You may have seen her in the documentary <a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com/">The Interrupters</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>During a time where it seems everyone and anyone is talking about gun violence, we thought it fitting to see what Matthews has to say and what she was up to at 25.</p><p>She wasn&#39;t always the one breaking up the fights and trying to keep the peace &mdash; gang life was a big part of her growing up.</p><p>Her father, Jeff Fort, is one of Chicago&#39;s well-known gang leaders. And Matthews will tell you herself, she didn&#39;t think she&#39;d live to see 25, as most of her youth was wrapped up in life on the streets.</p><p>That&#39;s where she begins the story of her 25th year.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 15:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ameena-matthews-105541 CeaseFire hosts pre-New Year’s Eve Peace Summit http://www.wbez.org/story/ceasefire-hosts-pre-new-year%E2%80%99s-eve-peace-summit-95195 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-29/RS4848_AP060201020389-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Three hundred African-American and Latino young men are set to gather Friday for a pre-New Year’s Eve peace summit.</p><p>CeaseFire, the anti-violence group, will host the summit on Chicago’s West Side.</p><p>Illinois Director Tio Hardiman said there’s a lot of conflict currently infecting the streets. The desire is to have the session quell tension before 2012 rings in.</p><p>“We’re doing our best to promote a peaceful New Year’s Eve – and talk to these young guys about not shooting their guns on New Year’s Eve and settling up their differences with other guys. Some of these conflicts are dealing with females as well,” Hardiman said.</p><p>Organizers want the youth to talk about why so many young men are quick to draw their guns. They also expect participants to role-play how to avoid violence.</p><p>Youth often make headlines when there’s violence. Two teens died Tuesday night after gunfire broke out at a Church’s Chicken in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Hardiman said despite conventional wisdom, the root of most youth violence is not gang-related.</p><p>“A lot of the violence in Chicago is interpersonal violence and then it spirals into gang-related violence,” Hardiman said. Cliques, or neighborhood crews, inhabit the city.</p><p>Hardiman said the peace summit will also address racial hostility among black and Latino teens who live in the adjacent North Lawndale and Little Village neighborhoods.</p></p> Thu, 29 Dec 2011 21:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/ceasefire-hosts-pre-new-year%E2%80%99s-eve-peace-summit-95195 CeaseFire employs public health methodology to fight urban violence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-24/ceasefire-employs-public-health-methodology-fight-urban-violence-90962 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-24/gary_slutkin_and_tio_hardiman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Listen to this story:<br> <audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483661-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/wv20110824interruptors.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></strong></p><p>The new documentary film <em><a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com/" target="_blank">The Interrupters</a> </em>chronicles the groundbreaking and now well-known program called <a href="http://ceasefirechicago.org/" target="_blank">CeaseFire</a>. Founded 15 years ago in Chicago, CeaseFire takes a public health approach to violence, employing former gang members to stop violence before it begins in some of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. It’s had remarkable success and has been implemented in cities around the world.</p><p>CeaseFire’s founder, <a href="http://www.cade.uic.edu/sphapps/faculty_profile/facultyprofile.asp?i=gslutkin" target="_blank">Dr. Gary Slutkin</a>, is a local physician and epidemiologist. Dr. Slutkin spent years in Africa with the World Health Organization fighting cholera, tuberculosis and AIDS. It’s through his work fighting communicable diseases in Africa that he came to view violence as a public health problem. We talk with Dr. Slutkin about how his work fighting the spread of disease helped shape the model for CeaseFire.</p></p> Wed, 24 Aug 2011 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-24/ceasefire-employs-public-health-methodology-fight-urban-violence-90962 Film profiles interrupters of street violence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-01/film-profiles-interrupters-street-violence-89894 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-01/Interruptors.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>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 <a href="http://www.ceasefirechicago.org/" target="_blank">CeaseFire's</a> violence interruptors, insert themselves into the midst of altercations to prevent dangerous reactions. Filmmaker <a href="http://www.kartemquin.com/about/steve-james" target="_blank">Steve James</a> and writer <a href="http://www.alexkotlowitz.com/" target="_blank">Alex Kotlowitz</a> profiled three such persons in their new film <a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com/" target="_blank"><em>The Interrupters</em></a>. The film follows Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra at work.</p><p><em>The Interrupters</em> begins screening next week at the <a href="http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/interrupters" target="_blank">Gene Siskel Film Center,</a> and Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz will be at some of the screenings.</p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-28/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-works-youth-interrupt-violence-84343" target="_blank">spoke with interrupter Ameena Matthews</a> earlier this spring.</p><p><em>Music Button: Grace Jones, "This Is Dub", from the CD Hurricane, (Pias America)</em></p></p> Mon, 01 Aug 2011 14:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-01/film-profiles-interrupters-street-violence-89894 'Interrupters' take on Chicago's youth violence http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-29/interrupters-take-chicagos-youth-violence-88559 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/ameena.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>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.</p><p>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 police that year.</p><p>Albert's death also made headlines just as a small film crew began work on a documentary about violence interrupters, former gang members dispatched to their old Chicago neighborhoods to try to stop youth violence.</p><p>Eddie Bocanegra is one of the interventionists featured in the resulting documentary, <a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com/">The Interrupters</a>. Bocanegra spent 14 years in prison for murder and now works with the Chicago violence prevention organization <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/03/25/132633966/chicago-youth-program-aims-to-decrease-violence">CeaseFire</a>, which runs the interrupter program.</p><p>"I'll be honest," Bocanegra tells NPR's Neal Conan. "During the filming, I was very ashamed revisiting some of these places and then taking somebody with me."</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-28/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-works-youth-interrupt-violence-84343">Related: 848's interview with Interrupter Ameena Matthews</a></strong></p> <p>While taking outsiders to the scenes of his former crimes was humbling for Bocanegra, he says it also served as a fresh reminder of the positive changes he's trying to make in his old neighborhood.</p><p>"I look at my life, where it's at now, and what I've done," he says. "I feel that I've failed more than I have succeeded, but I do take some comfort in knowing that there [are] times that I have made a difference in some people's lives."</p><p>Bocanegra says the key to CeaseFire's work is understanding how growing up in the midst of gang violence influences young people.</p><p>"If you really think about it, most of the youth that we work with suffer from [post-traumatic stress disorder], from mental disorder," he says. "So a lot of the time it's learning how to address that. It's learning how to communicate with them."</p><p>Bocanegra works primarily with young men, ranging from their teens to their 30s. He says he's able to intervene in heated situations in large part because of his own credibility in the community.</p><p>"It opens up the doors and ... other places I wouldn't be able to get into ... or the average person wouldn't be able to get into," Bocanegra says. "Because of my past, my background ... I know the signs. I can understand the body language. It makes it a lot easier to know what to say, what not to say, who to get involved with the mediation."</p><p>And while <em>The Interrupters</em> demonstrates CeaseFire workers' ability to help defuse violent street confrontations, it also demonstrates a difficult truth: Conflict mediation is dangerous work.</p><p>Author Alex Kotlowitz produced <em>The Interrupters,</em> and, with filmmaker Steve James, worked closely with Bocanegra and his CeaseFire colleagues in the making of the film.</p><p>Kotlowitz tells Conan that two violence interrupters were shot during the year the crew spent filming. One of them, he says, "was actually visiting his father and a dispute erupted on a porch nearby."</p><p>Kotlowitz says that when the interrupter tried to help resolve the dispute, it soon became clear that his presence wasn't helping.</p><p>"He did the right thing, which was to turn and leave," Kotlowitz says. "And as he was leaving, he got shot in the leg."</p><p>Kotlowitz says he and his crew also witnessed confrontations where they felt compelled to leave for their own safety, or for the safety of the interrupters.</p><p>Bocanegra says it felt weird to be followed around by a film crew while working with young gang members. People would want to know who the filmmakers were and what they were up to.</p><p>"You're ... an outsider [in] the community," Bocanegra says, "and there are certain things they don't necessarily want to expose."</p><p>"I know it's a rather grim landscape," Kotlowitz adds. "But for us, in the end we were inspired by the likes of Eddie. I hope people who watch the film will be inspired, as well." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. <img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1309446321?&gn=%27Interrupters%27+Take+On+Chicago%27s+Youth+Violence&ev=event2&ch=1137&h1=Movie+Interviews,Movies,Arts+%26+Life,Home+Page+Top+Stories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=137503585&c7=1137&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1137&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110629&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=5&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-29/interrupters-take-chicagos-youth-violence-88559 CeaseFire's Ameena Matthews stands on the other side of the violence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-29/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-stands-other-side-violence-84409 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-29/Ameena-and-Alison.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Monday, <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy sat down for part one of her conversation with Ameena Matthews. Matthews is a violence interrupter with the group <a href="http://www.ceasefirechicago.org/" target="_blank">CeaseFire</a>. Their work is the subject of <a href="http://www.kartemquin.com/films/the-interrupters" target="_blank"><em>The Interrupters</em></a>, the new documentary by Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz.<br /><br />In her early life, Matthews was involved in gang life, but now she stands on the other side-working to stop the violence.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s obvious that Matthews&rsquo; job is not your usual 9 to 5. The film captures scenes of fighting and escalating tension that offer a glimpse of what it&rsquo;s like to spend your day surrounded by violence. Alison Cuddy started the second part of her conversation with Matthews by asking what it takes to be in the midst of violence &ndash; day in and day out.</p><p><em>Music Button: Ocote Soul Sounds &amp; Adrian Quesada, &quot;Tres Ratas&quot;, from the CD Coconut Rock, (ESL)</em></p></p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 13:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-29/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-stands-other-side-violence-84409 CeaseFire's Ameena Matthews works with youth to 'interrupt' violence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-28/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-works-youth-interrupt-violence-84343 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-27/ameena matthews.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>Violence is an issue across many of the city&rsquo;s wards. But some neighborhoods need more help than others. Groups like CeaseFire seek to provide that help. The anti-violence initiative tries to stop potentially violent situations from starting. Their main tactic is to put so-called violence interrupters in the middle of the dispute.</p><p>Ameena Matthews is an interrupter with <a href="http://www.ceasefirechicago.org/">CeaseFire</a>. She&rsquo;s featured in the new documentary <a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com/" target="_blank"><em>The Interrupters</em></a>, by Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz.</p><p>Matthews grew up in different parts of the South Side, including Englewood. She spoke to <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> host Alison Cuddy, and started by discussing some of her favorite spots in the neighborhood.</p><p>Tuesday, <em>Eight Forty Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy continues the conversation with Matthews, and learns more about what her day to day life is like as a violence interrupter.</p><p><em>Music Button: Thunderball, &quot;Low Down Weather&quot;, from the CD 12 Mile High, (ESL) </em></p></p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 15:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-28/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-works-youth-interrupt-violence-84343 Gang mediators take on domestic violence http://www.wbez.org/story/advocate/gang-mediators-take-domestic-violence <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Kerr_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago-based group called CeaseFire works in the city&rsquo;s toughest neighborhoods. It trains former gang members to mediate conflicts that could turn violent. Those conflicts might be over turf or money, a pecking order or a personality clash. Now CeaseFire is addressing another source of gang tension: wives and girlfriends. But some advocates for battered women worry that mixing gang intervention with domestic-violence work could backfire.</p><p>MITCHELL (at the scene): I&rsquo;m at the offices of a Humboldt Park group called the Alliance of Local Service Organizations. It runs a CeaseFire chapter and they&rsquo;re letting me listen in to a debriefing about a shooting this month.<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Could there be retaliation to this incident?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: There could have been, very likely, but since we talked them down and...<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Because somebody went around on a graffiti rampage, right?<br />MITCHELL (at the scene): I&rsquo;ve agreed not to identify the CeaseFire workers or anyone involved in the conflict.<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: The victim was in a relationship?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: He&rsquo;s in a relationship. He was having another relationship outside the relationship....<br /><br />MITCHELL (in the bureau): Here&rsquo;s the gist of the story&mdash;all of it alleged. A gang member got a teenager pregnant and started slapping her around. This didn&rsquo;t sit well with her family. And, the thing is, her family&rsquo;s in a different gang. So someone in that mob tracked down the man and shot him.<br /><br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Did the victim die?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: No.<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Did the victim know the perp?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: Yes.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Violence involving gangs and girlfriends is nothing new in Chicago. But it&rsquo;s only lately that CeaseFire&rsquo;s Humboldt Park chapter responds this way:<br /><br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: OK, so a domestic-violence advocate has been notified and is working with the related parties around safety planning. We don&rsquo;t know if that has taken place, right?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: No.<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Because we gave her the card but...<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: It&rsquo;s on her if she wants to go get the help. We can&rsquo;t force her to do anything.<br />KERR: And there are other services that we&rsquo;ve connected with as well so...<br /><br />MITCHELL: This last guy is Norman Kerr. He&rsquo;s a social worker who oversees the CeaseFire chapter. Kerr speaks with me after the meeting.<br /><br />KERR: A year ago, we didn&rsquo;t really concern ourselves with needs of the victim in a domestic-violence case. If there was a young lady who was victimized by her boyfriend, that really wasn&rsquo;t something that we addressed.<br /><br />MITCHELL: So Kerr and some former gang members he supervises got some training from the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women&rsquo;s Network. And the CeaseFire chapter has developed an approach to what it calls &ldquo;intimate-partner violence.&rdquo;<br /><br />KERR: If we know someone is victimized, we want to make sure that they&rsquo;re getting the help that they need. And, at the same time, we&rsquo;re sitting here talking about how we can educate the young guys that they shouldn&rsquo;t be perpetrating domestic violence.<br /><br />SHAW: That&rsquo;s a dream come true.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Barbara Shaw heads a state agency called the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority.<br /><br />SHAW: Men sometimes feel that they have a right to hit their girlfriends or hit their wives&mdash;that they&rsquo;re supposed to maintain control. And having other men, particularly men who have a macho image themselves, telling them that this is not OK and not manly increases the validity and strength of the message.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Shaw says gang interventionists with roots in the neighborhood have much more access to perpetrators than victim advocates do. That&rsquo;s actually the idea behind expanding the program. Starting next month, the Humboldt Park chapter will train CeaseFire street workers citywide about intimate-partner violence.&nbsp; But some battered-women&rsquo;s advocates warn that CeaseFire could be putting those workers in greater danger.<br /><br />ABARCA: The offender may try to send other people after him or may teach him a lesson for getting into his business.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Rosa Abarca heads the domestic-violence program at Mujeres Latinas en Acción. That&rsquo;s a women&rsquo;s center in Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood. Abarca says a perp. might mistake what a CeaseFire worker&rsquo;s up to.<br /><br />ABARCA: He may feel like this is a boyfriend that&rsquo;s trying to help her out. And that can escalate the abuse for her because he&rsquo;s probably thinking that, &quot;She&rsquo;s being unfaithful. I need to control her more.&quot;<br /><br />MITCHELL: And Abarca points out some victims may not be ready for help.<br /><br />AMBI: Debriefing.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Back in Humboldt Park, the CeaseFire workers are still talking about the shooting.<br /><br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Let me ask you this: What happens if she does end up getting slapped again tomorrow?<br /><br />MITCHELL: I ask the group&rsquo;s leader, Norman Kerr, whether Abarca has got a point.&nbsp; Maybe a CeaseFire worker could make a domestic dispute worse. Maybe he could spark more violence.<br /><br />KERR: We&rsquo;re not trying to work directly with female victims. We&rsquo;re making referrals. We&rsquo;re making sure that the female victims in those situations are getting some services.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Kerr wants his crew to be careful. But since so many gang disputes involve girlfriends and wives, he says, CeaseFire has no choice but to get involved.</p><p><em>Music Button: Calibro 35, &quot;Appuntamento Al Contessa&quot;, from the CD Rare, (Nublu) </em></p></p> Mon, 24 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/advocate/gang-mediators-take-domestic-violence