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Violence Interrupters

Our Violence Interrupter team, men and women with deep connections to the streets, mediate conflicts between individuals, groups and gangs before the guns come out.

About Violence Interrupters

In area teams, Youth Alive’s Violence Interrupters (VIs) take to the streets of Oakland at all hours, heading wherever violence, conflict or escalation is brewing, to engage those involved, to bring alternative solutions, peaceful resolutions, and to defuse tensions before the guns come out.

VIs are from the very communities and neighborhoods where they now work to save lives. Most have worked in street outreach for years. Most lived the street life or spent time incarcerated. They understand the nuances of community conflicts, the barriers faced, and the great promise of young people in Oakland’s most impacted neighborhoods. They are mentors, problem solvers, and life savers.

YA’s VI program is based on the Cure Violence model. The ways in which we implement the approach, as part of a comprehensive response to violence prevention, is unique and represents what is now known as a Community Violence Intervention Ecosystem (CVI Ecosystem). The concept of a CVI Ecosystem, a network of connected violence prevention programs within a locality that work collaboratively to address the myriad of factors associated with violence, is now central to our field. The ways in which our violence interrupter program integrates with our programs in hospitals, the community, and school settings can serve as a model of how a CVI Ecosystem approach can be put to action, particularly how multi-pronged approaches within an organization may be the first step in prevention and intervention.

Youth Alive introduced our team of violence interrupters in 2016.

Violence Interrupters Impact

mediations conducted in 2023.
safety assessments conducted at the hospital bedsides of shooting victims in 2023.
families relocated to safety in 2023.
I’m just an Oakland street kid trying to make it better for the next generation on the same streets that I grew up on.
Keith Wesley, Violence Interrupter

Violence Interrupters Resources

If you need mediation in your neighborhood, contact Glen Upshaw, Violence Interruption Manager at or (510) 938-0030.