There is work being done that defies every statistic you read. In fact, it often defies logic and what many of us deem as possible. Today, there is a movement, a peace movement, full of young people and skilled specialists who are preventing violence because they have been victims – and sometimes perpetrators themselves. But their voices and stories are being overlooked and ignored. And while this is certainly a national movement –as is often the case – it began in a specific place.
Community-based intervention practitioners are working to end violence from the inside out. These interventionists – out of the many who do this work – have emerged as an ad hoc LA Peace Department working hand to bring better understanding and conflict resolution tools to neighborhoods that have been torn apart and underserved. At the heart of their work is community-based intervention, which tackles violence in comprehensive and holistic manner.
In Los Angeles, the “gang capital of the world,” violent crime is down. Homicides have been reduced by 40%, and Los Angeles is now experiencing the lowest levels of crime in over forty years. But, who has stopped the killing?
Together, they have connected tens of thousands of youth and their families to jobs, education, cultural arts, and other necessary services and programs. They have run internationally recognized organizations and developed model practices for reducing violence. They have drafted and implemented groundbreaking legislation, and they have buried too many of their friends, colleagues, and children.
These community leaders have devoted their lives to solving the problems – violence, drug abuse, mass incarceration, police brutality, hopelessness – that plague our streets, our schools, our workplace and our homes. The problems splash incessantly across the headlines and are being reported upon more widely by mainstream media then ever before. But who is talking about the solutions? Who is exposing the people and principles that are actively engaged in the change we all need to see? These people and principles have been marginalized for too long and “From The Heart of Violence” aims to change that.