06 Aug 2019

MacArthur Foundation Panel: Promising Solutions to Reducing Gun Violence

Hope. 

That’s not often the first word that comes up when people in Chicago talk about gun violence, but it was certainly on the minds of panelists at Promising Solutions to Reducing Gun Violence, an event held by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on July 11. The event was held in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the city’s South Side.

“We go out there and let the young people know that yes, there are going to be challenges and roadblocks, but that’s not the end of everything,” said Jorge Matos, Director of the Safe Streets program at ALSO. “Our lives and our stories go through chapters, and I try to model the behavior that ‘OK, I’ve been there and done it. Let’s work together. Let me walk with you to bring that peace and to bring people together.’”

Panelists in the event shared a vision of violence prevention that responds to current realities.

Promising Solutions to Reducing Gun Violence, an event held by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, was held on July 11, 2019 in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the city’s south side. Panelists, from left to right: Jorge Matos, Director of the Safe Streets program at ALSO; Tanya Woods, Executive Director of the West Side Justice Center; William “Billy” Moore, a case manager at the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, and Teny Gross, Executive Director of the Institute of Nonviolence Chicago.

In 2015, Chicago experienced a major increase in gun violence that included 4,368 shootings and 764 homicides. The Humboldt Park community, which ALSO serves, is currently ranked 4th among Chicago’s 77 community areas for shootings and homicides, according to police data.

Other panelists at the event included Tanya Woods, Executive Director of the West Side Justice Center; Teny Gross, Executive Director of the Institute of Nonviolence Chicago, and William “Billy” Moore, a case manager at the Inner-City Muslim Action Network. ALSO, the Institute of Nonviolence Chicago, and Inner-City Muslim Action Network are all partnering organizations of Communities Partnering 4 Peace, which features leading outreach organizations that have combined their expertise to jointly impact nine Chicago communities most affected by gun violence. CP4P is among the violence prevention efforts that have been supported by MacArthur.

“There are residents and community leaders and civic and church groups and others who are working every day and every night to make the blocks and the neighborhoods safer throughout the city,” said Julia Stasch, President of the MacArthur Foundation. “What drives those actions, and the actions of many of your colleagues,” Stasch said to the panel, “is that we realize we cannot continue to do the same thing, hoping each year is going to be better.”

 In cooperation with more than 40 local funders, MacArthur has supported violence prevention efforts through the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities, which has committed nearly $75 million to tackling Chicago’s gun violence.  

Participants in the MacArthur panel spoke about a wide range of topics related to gun violence, including the positive impact of street outreach, the need for a long-term approach on this issue, the growing focus on gender violence, the need for trauma-based services and more.

“We talk about PTSD for people who go off to war,” said Tanya Woods, Executive Director of the West Side Justice Center. “But we don’t talk about PTSD for people who are walking around these streets. We have to make this a priority.”

When asked about their views on priorities for the city’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, panelists emphasized the success - and future potential of - outreach work that connects directly with people who are most at risk of violence in the city. “We have to have deep conversation and understand how we can utilize skills and relationships we have built in our communities,” said Matos.

Jorge Matos shared a perspective about the positive stories he sees every day on the city’s West Side - a view that is often overlooked by the city’s media. “When I look at the news, that’s not what I see every day in my community. I see a lot of wins and a lot of gains in our community with the work we are doing - and our partners are doing. It’s a long game - we don’t just talk about having a bad day or a bad weekend. We really believe in building community - and building community together.”

RECAP:

Promising Solutions to Reducing Gun Violence was held by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on July 11. The event was held in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the city’s South Side.For more, go to https://www.macfound.org/press/perspectives/building-relationships-and-earning-trust-reduce-gun-violence/

Jorge Matos, Director of the Safe Streets program at ALSO, was a panelist at the event. “Our lives and our stories go through chapters, and I try to model the behavior that ‘OK, I’ve been there and done it,” he said. “ Let’s work together. Let me walk with you to bring that peace and to bring people together.’”

When asked about their views on priorities for the city’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, panelists emphasized the success - and future potential of - outreach work that connects directly with people who are most at risk of violence in the city. “We have to have deep conversation and understand how we can utilize skills and relationships we have built in our communities,” said Matos.

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ALSO is an organization committed to end violence in homes and communities nationwide. Your contribution will help us live out our mission to develop, promote and implement model programs in order to build a movement for peace and safety in the coming year.

With your support, we will:

  • Continue providing jobs for in-risk youth through our 10-10-10 job training program.
  • Provide bystander intervention training for youth and community members, giving people the skills to know how to increase safety in high risk situations.
  • Explore and reveal the relationship between intimate partner and community violence to create programming that will reduce both.

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