I watched a documentary last night called The Interrupters. It follows a few members of a violence prevention organization in Chicago. What makes this organization, Ceasefire, special is that most, if not all (?) members are former gang members/drug dealers/street people. They have had the fortitude and drive to turn their lives around, and they are working in their former neighborhoods to prevent as much violence as they can.
Within the first ten minutes of the film, I had a box of tissues at my side. How can you not be moved while watching an 8-year-old cry in a classroom because she is scared by the shootings in her neighborhood? How can you not be moved by the deaths of children who were in the wrong place at the wrong time? How can you not be moved by a 17-year-old just released from prison for bank robbery, who goes to the business he robbed to apologize?
Children growing up in violent neighborhoods are caught in a vicious cycle of violence. It’s all they know. There is so much violence that they don’t know if they will live to see tomorrow. The members of Ceasefire are trying to prevent acts of violence by going out into the community and mediating conflict and spending time with young people who are heading down a bad path. It’s a dangerous and frustrating job, but if they save lives, it’s worth it.
This was an eye-opening, educational, and emotional film. If you rent it, have the tissues ready.