Gun violence in the city of Chicago reached a 21-year high in the month of May.
The Windy City is just one many American cities being ravaged by this troubling trend of gang violence, lone-wolf shooters, and a rash of other violent crime – resulting in tragedy and Black bodies piling up on the streets of our urban centers.
Emergency room physician Dr. Robert Gore became weary of treating young Black men for gun-related injuries on his operating tables in New York City and in Chicago, so he decided to do something about it.
In 2011, Gore took matters into his own hands and created the Kings Against Violence Initiative in Brooklyn, New York. The organization’s aim is to give at-risk youth alternatives to acting out violently in the streets. The weekly workshops and activities take place in schools, hospitals and in the community, centering on such life skills as crisis management, identity exploration, and critical thinking.
Dr. Gore said on Friday’s edition of NewsOne Now that while growing up in Brooklyn, NY, attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, and then treating gun shot victims while working as a resident doctor in Chicago, he was inspired to research and study violence intervention.
“When you see things over and over again, there are a couple of things that can happen — one you can become numb to the situation, or you can see what else is there — there has to be a different way” or an alternative to this existence.
Dr. Gore has expanded the Kings Against Violence Initiative to a number of schools in New York where they have a “dialogue” and “points of contact where you understand the local culture to see what way we can implement the best practices approach” to quell the violence.
In developing his initiative, Gore said “anytime we implement a program we have to be sure it fits in with the local culture, the local leadership so that it’s palatable and people wind up utilizing it to the best of their abilities.”
When asked what methods have yielded the best results for at-risk youth, Dr. Gore said, “One of the biggest things is being in a position where young people can be heard.”
“When you’ve experienced trauma, whether you’ve experienced it directly, whether it’s verbal, whether it’s physical, whether it’s something going on in your family — many people are hurting,” Gore said.
The Kings Against Violence Initiative allows troubled youth a space to comfortably discuss their pain, trauma they have experienced and allows healing to take place.
Gore also explained many of the workshops deal with mediation and conflict resolution, which according to the emergency room physician, “is just a portion of the solution.”
He said the workshops “create a space where young people participate in activities, but now they feel comfortable and they start to develop a common bond with the facilitators, with our program directors, with our site directors.”
“If something traumatic does occur or if there has been some stuff that’s been kept in for a long period of time,” participants in the program feel comfortable with the people they work with to discuss these issues and come up with a viable solution.
Watch guest host Avis Jones-DeWeever, Dr. Robert Gore and the NewOne Now panel discuss the Kings Against Violence Initiative in the video clip above.
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