This study begins to explore the possibilities of the anti-violence efforts that are under way in high violence communities such as Chicago’s west side. We’ve had success with interviewing 4 leaders/founders of anti-violence organizations and anticipate interviewing 56 more. By interviewing these leaders surrounded by violence, we’re able to get an understanding of the work taking place and the experience of those who engage in these efforts. These programs provide a safe space, mentoring, summer camps, gang outreach efforts, training in nonviolent communication, conflict resolution, peace-keeping practices and more.This research begins to bring light to the fact that there are other people working to help the community in unique ways. It helps inform the public of a broader movement toward justice reinvestment where funds are redirected from the criminal justice system toward more non-profit and grassroot organizations.
With disproportionate rates of violence in urban communities, it’s important to discover nonviolent efforts taking place to combat violence. If we can invest in more efforts that are both positive and through the community, it’s possible to accelerate economic development. This study begins to explore those possibilities in highlighting the efforts that are under way in high violence communities such as Chicago’s west side. Through interviews, we can get an understanding of the work taking place and the experience of those who engage in these efforts. This qualitative research helps us to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced and resources available to the founders and leaders of these grassroot organizations.
Keywords: Grassroots, urban communities, violence, nonviolent efforts