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Wilmington’s Movement for a Culture of Peace

Wilmington’s Movement for a Culture of Peace is growing. This broad coalition of groups working to reduce gun violence in Wilmington, our nation’s fifth most violent city, is asking questions, organizing, and planning actions to arrest an epidemic of mostly drug related murders.

On Saturday, December 6th the Movement to Create a Culture of Peace met at the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew on Shipley Street in downtown Wilmington to learn from experts what is being done in this direction: from Patrice Gibbs, the manager of Wilmington’s Cease Violence Program and his associate in that work, Shawn Allen, Deputy Director of Wilmington’s Department of Parks and Recreation. They heard also from Richard Iardella, Liaison to Wilmington’s Department of Public Safety, and from Dan Logan, head of Delaware’s Crime Strategies Unit. The first video below sets forth the big picture about who is doing what.

The second video explains how Wilmington’s Cease Violence Program works to prevent shootings, particularly in situations where friends of shooting victims may be inclined to retaliate against supposed perpetrators. This is dangerous work, carried out by street savvy volunteers who by their gritty experience and social connections strive to gain the trust of would-be shooters.

Many members of this growing movement live in the suburbs. How can they work with city residents to reduce gun violence in Wilmington? This is the question introducing the third video, entitled “Collaborating to Create a Culture of Peace.”

Finally, a citizen at the meeting asked what checks and balances can we count on to insure just prosecution of gun-related crimes? We want to catch and prosecute guilty parties, but how can we do that in neighborhoods where witnesses to shootings fear retaliation if they “snitch.” The final video touches on this issue.

Please leave comments and/or questions regarding these videos. As Shawn Allen said at the meeting, “There is no short term fix for long term problems, and everybody’s effort is needed.” At Facebook visit to lend a hand in this growing movement to make our city safe.

— TCDavis

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