Biden on Violence Interrupters –
In his June 23 remarks introducing the White House Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gun Crime and Ensure Public Safety, President Biden showed a real understanding of the approach and effectiveness of Violence Interrupters like those on our team at Youth ALIVE!. YA! Violence Interrupters mediated 108 conflicts in 2020 and met 106 victims at their hospital bedsides to assess their ongoing safety. They continue to work the streets of Oakland to defuse tensions and de-escalate potentially violent conflicts. Here’s what President Biden had to to say about their life-saving work:
“These are local programs that utilize trusted messengers and community members and leaders to work directly with people who are most likely to commit gun crimes or become victims of gun crimes.
“We know who they are. They intervene before it’s too late — these — these interrupters — turn down the temperature, halt the cycle of retaliation, connect people to social services. And it works. Community violence intervention programs have shown a reduction in violence of up to 60 percent in many places.
“We heard from two community leaders that do this work. Eddie, thank you for coming from Chicago to — you’re really — quite frankly, it was impressive — your presentation. And — and DeVone Boggan from Richmond, California.
“Eddie was formerly incarcerated for gun homicide, and DeVone lost his brother to gun violence. And Eddie worked as a violence interrupter. Now he runs a program that provides high-risk men with cognitive behavioral — cognitive behavioral therapy to help them react to the impulses by slowing down rather than following through on the violence. It puts them in — he — puts them in paid jobs to change their trajectory. The program has reduced sh- — has reduced shootings by 40 percent.
“DeVone runs a program across California and six other states that enroll high-risk individuals in peace fellowships, complete with intensive mentoring and social services. It’s saving lives. In Sacramento, for example, 91 percent of participants stayed away from gun violence.”
– President Joe Biden, June 23, 2021