Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Understanding Inner City Violence - article

For most of the people in America, inner city violence is just a sound byte on TV, or a newspaper headline. It's not something they really understand, thus it's not something that offers more than simplistic solutions. It's a complex problem.

A friend of mine works for CEASE Fire, and sent me a link to an article about Cease Fire, and inner city violence, from the New York Times Magazine, written by Alex Kotlowitz. I encourage you to read it.

I've known about Cease Fire for more than 10 years and have had its founder on my newsletter mail lists. We've never found ways to connect our strategies of prevention via tutoring/mentoring, and triage, or street intervention, right at the point of acts of violence.

I think we've got to find ways to apply multiple pressure points to this problem. No single solution is enough. I use maps to try to map this conversion of different strategies, and host the conference in May and November to try to draw people from different solution-channels together, so that relationships, and integrated strategies might develop.

However, until funders become willing to fund these multiple strategies, in the same geography, for many years, we'll each compete with each other for core resources, and this competition will prevent most of us from finding ways to work together.

If you look at the links library on the T/MC web site, they go to many different sites, all with valuable information, and valuable programs. How do we create advertising to draw millions of viewers, like the readers of the New York Times magazine, or an Alex Kotlowitz book, to sites like this where they all spend some time, talent or dollars to support one or more of the different groups listed.

If we can generate enough traffic, and enough consistent funding, we can relieve the negative competitive pressures, and maybe generate some more complex and integrated problem solving.

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