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Tired of waiting on help from outside the community, a group of mothers got together to do something about the violence themselves. They formed a group called M.A.S.K. – Mothers Against Senseless Violence.

The group is bringing back the “old way” of raising children in the African-American community. According to founder Tamar Manasseh, “We’re bringing back the village concept. We’re bringing back the time when grandma and mother sat on the front porch to watch the kids play and made sure didn’t nothing happen.”

Manasseh joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the homegrown initiative to curb the violence that has seen violent crime rates skyrocket in the Windy City in recent months.

Manasseh explained M.A.S.K. has chapters in Staten Island and in Evansville, Indiana and the network of mothers is continuing to grow steadily.

The tactics they employ on the streets of troubled urban communities are “practical and something easy that people can do.”

The mothers “sit on the corner, sit on the block;” they also walk around, patrol, are seen and are being seen by the community. “It’s that watchful eye that kind of cuts off any opportunity for a lot of the violent crime to occur.”

Manasseh called the M.A.S.K. initiative one of the most “intensive community-policing strategies that we’ve seen in Chicago” or around the United States.

In a place where murders and shootings were pretty much an everyday occurrence, there hasn’t been a shooting or murder on that block or within a one-mile radius in over a year.

“It’s not just necessarily stopping the violence as it is about building community. You build community [and] violence stops – that’s how that goes,” said Manasseh.

Watch Roland Martin and Tamar Manasseh discuss the impact M.A.S.K. is having on communities in Chicago in the video clip above.

Click here to learn more about M.A.S.K.


Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.


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