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Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you in Englewood words can get you killed Gun violence in America is one of the leading causes of death for individuals under the age of 34 When words can escalate to bloodshed change is long overdue Some of the violence in these communities rival that of some violent countries Every individual is entitled to a safe and healthy community but with this entitlement comes responsibility In the year 2000 Operation Ceasefire was created an anti-violence program that was made to neutralize hostile situation before they accelerated to bloodshed and to bring awareness in the community about peaceful solutions Employees of the CeaseFire also known as interrupters worked on the streets negotiating conflicts between gangs and other trouble youths to prevent killings and retaliatory shootings Ceasefire proved to be a successful in some smaller communities but this is a much larger problem that requires the assistance of our government pastors aldermen teachers and other cornerstone members of the community As a community we must take responsible for our environment and come up with creative ideas to resolve this epidemic Ceasefires founder and Executive director Gary Slutkin is an epidemiologist and a physician who studied and battled infectious diseases in Africa His belief is that violence in America imitates diseases like tuberculosis and AIDS Slutkin suggested the best way to address the problem is to treat it like a disease by going after the most infected and to stop the infection by the source Operation Ceasefire Model went after the infection by using former gang members as interrupters to defuse situations before they became violent Because of the street creditability of these former gang members this allowed better communication with current gang members and troubled youths to resolve possible conflicts in a peace manner The Ceasefire approach to street violence was detection and interruption of planned violent activity behavior change of high risk
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