'You're important, we care about you but what you're doing is wrong and we can't have it.'
CeaseFire is an antiviolence initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention. Based at the University of Illinois’s Department of Public Health, CeaseFire treats gun violence as a public health problem and fights it by trying to change both individual and community behavior. CeaseFire works with community-based organizations, local ministers, and community leaders to organize neighborhood marches, rallies, and vigils after shootings, and focuses on street-level outreach, conflict mediation and changing community norms to decrease violence.
At the heart of CeaseFire’s work is high-risk conflict mediation through outreach workers and ‘violence interrupters’. These streetwise individuals are familiar with gang life, and their persuasivetalk is intended to change the attitudes and behaviors of high-risk youth – helping to quell conflicts before they escalate to violence. The idea with Ceasefire is that the message is delivered immediately, in the street, with the voices and faces and souls of everyone in the neighborhood.