WUOMFM

Working day in and day out to end violence in Detroit

Oct 27, 2016

Turn on the TV news in metro Detroit, and you're bound to catch the latest story about a shooting, a stabbing, or some other tragic story about another lost life in the city.

Violent crime is something every major urban center struggles with, and Detroit is no exception.

Zak Rosen with our State of Opportunity team spent a lot time recently with people working to bring peace to their neighborhoods. Rosen shows us how they work in the face of overwhelming problems "like a disjointed school system, ongoing home foreclosures, [and] massive unemployment."

In his report, we hear from the historian who says we are wrong to think that violence is just synonymous with inner-city life. ​Heather Ann Thompson argues the crisis in our cities was created by our policies: 

“It cannot possibly be that an entire generation of young African Americans, young black and brown people, in general, just simply lose their moral compass, lose their tethering to family, to community, to rationality. This is bigger than that. So what is the history of that? And that very quickly led me to understand this was a very clear policy choice we made to lock up everybody and criminalize everything. And for that reason, we can un-choose it," Thompson said. 

What are people doing to end violence in their communities? A lot, really.

Rosen spent time with groups like Peace Zones for Life, Men of Purpose, and Mothers of Murdered Children. For the people forming these organizations and hundreds of others like them, he shows how they keep working to try to make things better.

Sandra Hines, who helped form the group Freedom Feedom Collective, says persistence is key.

“You just can't give in. It's no magic way to do it. It's going to take a long time. It's going to take a lot of work because things are not getting better. They're getting worse. It's an experiment anyway to see how it's going to work, but we just got to keep plugging at it. We can't stop," [says Hines].

You can learn more about how people in Detroit are working to bring peace to their neighborhoods.

Listen to and read Rosen's report here.