Posted by: joshjasper | April 22, 2009

END IT

My work as of late has found me doing quite a bit of traveling and meeting with individuals throughout the country discussing one thing, and one thing only….creating a community free of violence.  As you can imagine, there are tons of “Riverview Centers” out there that provide services to victims of crime while working to prevent future violence.  Time and time again, the same obstacle surfaces in these discussions.  “How do you effectively engage the community in our work?”  We know of course that we cannot do the work ourselves and that it does in fact “take a village.”

Call me an optimist, a dreamer, someone that can sometimes be accused of grandiose thinking, but I left a meeting this morning feeling like the group that I was with had forged into uncharted territory.  Would it be too bold to say that we have become pioneers?  This group didn’t happen in Des Moines, not in Chicago, but right here in Dubuque Iowa.  Community members sat around a conference table drinking Starbucks and picking through the assortment of donuts, talking about violence prevention strategies that most people do not even imagine.  So many communities in my experience struggle with pulling off effective prevention efforts within the organizations actually tasked to do the work, let alone empowering and engaging community members to do the work for them.

We accomplished just that this morning.  We moved away from the tired and broken model of having 1 person, 1 agency responsible for this work, to talking about and planning how we are going to change the way people think about violence…forever.  What we are talking about is grandiose, because only grandiose will do at this point.  Everything is at stake.

Thank you to the members of the E.N.D.-I.T. (Endorsing Non Violence Daily-In Totality) group, and thank you to those that might be thinking now is the time to join our efforts.

We need you.

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