June 30, 2020
CBS2 in New York
NEW YORK — Another nine shootings happened Monday alone, the latest in a disturbing surge in gun violence across New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly praised the Cure Violence movement, saying it has a big role to play in curbing crime.
So what exactly is it? CBS2’s Andrea Grymes spoke to members on Tuesday.
Meeting in matching orange shirts in Brooklyn’s George Gershwin Park, they might’ve looked like a sports team. But the teamwork they were showing was a lot more serious. On Tuesday, Grymes watched the daily meeting of nonprofit Man Up! Inc.‘s trained, full-time violence interruptors, conflict mediators, and outreach workers.
They’re mainly young adults working to prevent shootings in their own neighborhoods, one day at a time. Andre T. Mitchell is the group’s CEO. “They go back into the neighborhood. They work with the highest-risk members of the community,” Mitchell said.
Man Up! Inc. operates in hot spots within areas of East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Brownsville, Brooklyn. The trained workers keep an ear and an eye out for any situation where they can intervene before it escalates to violence. They’re one of more than 20 groups citywide that operates under the Cure Violence Global model, which treats crime as a public health crisis. “It recognizes violence as a disease. We see it differently than the rest of the world,” Mitchell said. The group offers help to those at risk, including education and job services.
A 2017 John Jay College study found it works, that gun violence dropped significantly in neighborhoods where Cure Violence groups operate.
Mayor de Blasio has repeatedly said the model is more important than ever. The latest NYPD numbers show a whopping 142% increase in shooting incidents last week, compared to the same time last year — 63 versus 26. “It’s really heartbreaking and it just goes to show that we need more Cure Violence sites,” Man Up! Inc. member Tina Alston said.
The mayor announced a few weeks ago the city was adding $10 million to its crisis management budget to expand Cure Violence to other problem areas. Workers say in this city-wide shooting surge the goal is to redouble their efforts to make their communities safer for everyone. “It can be discouraging, but it can light a fire under you as well,” Man Up! Inc.’s Jeremy Arce said. Cure Violence groups operate independently from the NYPD, and are not informants for the police.