Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Violence Interrupters... and the Untold Story of Chicago's Epidemic of Violence

A fascinating mini-documentary from VICE magazine about the untold story of an epidemic of violence in Chicago and the people who are working to end it.

Just last month producer Jedd Thomas and his team followed violence interrupters Ameena Mathews and Lamar Evans onto the streets of the South Side of Chicago, heading for places where violence is set to explode.  The two had been trained by Tio Handiman, the founder of Ceasefire Project at the University of Illinois in Chicago.  In an interview Handiman points out that there are on average ten murders and forty shootings every night in this neighborhood, a rate comparable to hotspots in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hardiman and Mathews recount the story of Mathews' father, Jeff Fort, a one time gang-leader turned (supposed) progressive leader, now in prison for terrorism-related charges.  (Eh-hem, a different era!  See links below.)

Hardiman and associated researchers have been using techniques to disrupt gang violence borrowed from health science and epidemiology, and the two part documentary is worth watching for his interview alone.  Meanwhile resources remain scarce, and this story virtually unreported until now.

Part I is here:

Part II is here:

About Jeff Fort here and here.

Thanks to VICE and Jedd Thomas.

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