Jamala Rogers of the Organization for Black Struggle recently visited Aim4Peace-Kansas City, which is based on the CURE Violence model and has been in operation since 2008. CURE Violence is a successful violence reduction program adopted by many cities in the U.S. and in several countries. The program is unique in that it views violence as a public health issue and addresses violence as an epidemic. Rogers is part of a St. Louis group bringing CURE Violence to St. Louis.
Rogers was taken on a tour of the targeted area by Salahuddin Abdul-Waali and Erica Taylor, Aim4Peace staffers. The targeted area where most shootings and homicides have been occurring is in East Patrol on Kansas City’s east side. She was disheartened to discover that it’s the very neighborhood where she grew up. The night before her tour of the area, the city’s 82nd homicide for 2019 had occurred in front of her alma mater, Central High School.
“It’s been painful to watch the deterioration over the years of a neighborhood that brought me so many happy memories, “ said Rogers. “Adding violence to the intentional disinvestment of this community makes for a combustible situation.”
There have been nearly 600 shootings in St. Louis this year. According to St. Louis police statistics, homicides top 200. In one week, four children were victims of gun violence.
The implementation of CURE Violence in St. Louis has been embraced by many community leaders and elected officials. Rogers and other supporters hope to learn important lessons from their Kansas City collaborators.