Tio: Alright, let’s close up. Everybody that’s in the meeting, this is serious now, okay? We’re in a crisis mode, and we need people to step up this table and go over and beyond, guys are getting killed for just anything. Have there been any conflicts mediated on the front end? From last week to this week?
Yellow Backward Hat (VO): Two guys was arguing. One guy threatened to blow the other guy’s wig back.
Yellow Backward Hat: I got him to calm down, tell him he didn’t shoot you, he was just talking. We stopped that one on the front end.
Tio (VO): I have the dirty dozen at the table.
Tio: We’ve always had outreach workers, but the violence was not necessarily going down at that point.
Tio (VO): So in the year 2004, we began a new concept called the violence interrupters. Most of the violence interrupters come from the hierarchy in some of these gangs. Because can’t no anybody come in and tell a guy to put his gun down.
Swanky: SUBTITLE: They kept calling me, “Man they shooting!” I said, what you want me to do? What you want me to do?
Tio (VO): The violence interrupters have one goal in mind: to stop killings. They’re not trying to dismantle gangs, what they’re trying to do is save a life.
Guy: I better! What you mean…
Ameena: After what happened a week and a half ago, nobody’s been changed. Nobody’s come through shooting.
Ameena: –What happened?
SUBTITLE: Man’s Voice: We actually got an incident right out front.
Ameena (VO & ON CAM): By the time we got out there, the fight had just ended.
Young Man (VO): The cops pulled up and pulled off. Y’all missed that shit.
White Shirt: The cops pulled up and they left. They’re scared. They’re scared of the community.
Ameena (VO): One group of guys said the young man threatened that he had a gun, and that he was gonna kill him. So he started fighting and ended up getting his teeth knocked out.
Ameena (VO): Cobe got him off location. And I asked Cobe to take him to the hospital.
Fighting Guy: Uh, these bitchass niggas.
Fighting Guy: SUBTITLE: I’m gonna pop them! Watch this!
Ameena (VO): The block got quiet, and I’m looking down the street, and here comes the sisters of the guy that got his tooth knocked out. They came to defend their brother’s honor
Ameena (VO): With a butcher knife.
Ameena (VO): The sister calls one of the guys a bitch-ass, punk-ass. The little four and five year old baby was doing the same thing.
Sister: I’m a knock your bitch ass out.
Sister: Run up then. Run up then. Run up then.
Brown Shirt: You going to never knock me out!
Ameena pushes a guy in a brown shirt away from the sisters, while the guy is shouting.
SUBTITLE: Ameena: Look at her like you look at me.
Brown Shirt: You respecting yourself. She ain’t respecting herself.
Ameena: I know but still …(unclear)
SUBTITLE: Brown Shirt: Her brother goddamn shouldn’t be woofing.
Ameena: But still.
Ameena (VO): The story about sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you.
Ameena: Words’ll get you killed.
Ameena (VO): All of the sudden, the sister ran up with a piece of concrete.
Ameena (VO): One of the girls was about to stab one of the guys.
Ameena (VO]: Her cousin picked up the butcher knife.
Ameena (VO): Dee, was in the heat of the moment, that adrenaline was still going, that I’m gonna fuck them up. I’m gonna get them back.
Guy (VO): She just hit my man with a rock.
Ameena: Eighty-third and Wolcott. A-ight.
Ameena (VO): I picked up Dee. I said, you need to get off the block for a minute.
Dee: He was out of line. He was out of pocket. He was very disrespectful. And I know how many people I got out here that are willing to take care of business. We fittin to do this and all this and that.
Ameena (VO): His family kept calling him. You know, what’s taking you so long so we can come back over there and set that block off. Cause if his family would have came to get him…
Ameena: Maybe it would have been a death behind it.
Ameena: I know you got some damn fools for family. About you.
Ameena: You know what I’m saying. You ain’t going no problem in going back. I saw that you, wasn’t, you know, you was walking away, to defend you and your family. But, and I really man…
Ameena: Man, I thank you. I mean for real. For real, that’s what gangster is about right there.
Dee: I, I, I, I, I definitely don’t want to go back.
Ameena: Wasn’t that gangster?
Ameena: Didn’t them girls square up like Joe Frasier?
Ameena (VO): I took him over to his cousin’s house. We were talking about how he got hit.
Ameena (VO): And he tumbled over. Like a cartoon character.
Ameena: [Mimics falling over] Wooooo.
Ameena (VO): So, if you get them to laugh at themselves. Find that soft spot in that person.
Ameena: Not weak. But soft spot. And, you just ride on that.
Tio (VO): Ameena Matthews as a violence interrupter, she’s the golden girl. She gets in where a lot of guys can’t get in. She knows how to talk to these high-risk young men.
Tio: And a lot of guys that I know, that have a lot of murder in they background, they respect her.
Ameena: So, he all right?
Ameena (VO): The life that I lived, being in shootouts, looking at the devil, face to face.
Ameena: And I look at my, my sisters and my brothers today, you know, that was once me.
Tio (VO): Her father was Jeff Fort, one of the biggest gang leaders in the history of Chicago, outside of Al Capone. Fort is serving a life sentence for allegedly conspiring with Bolivians to commit acts of terrorism here in the United States.
Jeff Fort: …I understand the fact that we got polices in here.
Jeff Fort: …there is not going to be any killing without killing,
Tio (VO): Jeff Fort stood up against the police. He was definitely a feared and very revered man in his community.
Tio: …but she never lived off that name. Ameena made her own name on the streets.
Ameena: Growing up, it wasn’t his influence that influenced me to do anything.
Ameena (VO): You know, my dad was not there. When I was conceived, he was sixteen years old. So when I got older I was in a mob with a bunch of guys, and I was like the only female, that was the lieutenant. That took care of the business.
Ameena (VO): It was drug selling. Hustling.
Ameena (VO): You know, one crew was on the pimping tip. One crew was on the stickup tip.
Ameena: Drugs, guns, party, fun. I, that was it.
Ameena: My dad wasn’t around, and…
Ameena: …when he got wind of that I was a part of that team, he was kind of hurt…
Ameena: …but he couldn’t be too hurt. Because look at what kind of precedent that he started.
Megaphone Man (VO): Ceasefire.
Crowd (VO): Ceasefire.
Megaphone Man: Ceasefire.
Megaphone Man: Stop the shooting.
Crowd: Stop the shooting.
Megaphone Man: Stop the killing.
Crowd: Stop the killing.
Megaphone Man: I said stop it right now.
Crowd: Stop it right now
Cobe (VO): Young man got shot twenty-two times.
Cobe: Thirteen years old. That’s sad.
Red Hat: We’re sick and tired of our babies being killed.
Father: My son has been killed right here and we’re standing here with cameras right here where my son been slain at? Come on now. I don’t think that’s right. We could have did this somewhere else.
Male Newscaster (VO): Would you say that there’s still a code of silence going on in the neighborhood? The people aren’t coming forward.
Father: I can’t walk around, go up to people’s houses and say who killed my son? I’m not a police officer, and I’m not a doctor. You know, I don’t know how many times my son, they tell me twenty-two, I don’t know how times my son’s been shot.
Woman: SUBTITLE: Twenty-two.
Father: See, somebody in the background saying twenty-two. Sh- you a doctor, baby?
SUBTITLE: Auntie: I’m his auntie and that’s what the doctor told me.
Father: That’s my son, baby, you didn’t make him. You his auntie.
Male Voice (VO): We’re going to move this on past.
Father (VO): What you mean, you, watch you don’t get what?
Male Voice (VO): Words of encouragement for the family.
SUBTITLE: Father: Shut up! You don’t know shit.
Father: You better shut up.
SUBTITLE: Auntie: We took care of my mother fucking nephew…
SUBTITLE: Auntie: Nobody help us take care of my mother fucking nephew…
SUBTITLE: Auntie: The fuck he mean!
RED HAT (VO): Let me just say this. We just had another homicide. Just now. While we’re marching.
Red Hat: Another homicide.
Off-screen man: It’s a war zone.
Man: It’s a war zone. And an epidemic.
Red Hat (VO): People, we must come together.
Cobe: It’s just so crazy, man, because it’s like, every time you come outside, somebody getting killed. I don’t know what this world coming to.
Cobe: We got to be out here, man. Before things happen.
Cobe (VO): All my life, I knew right from wrong. I knew if I do this, I’ll get in trouble. But at the time, I just didn’t care though.
Cobe: I always wanted to be like my dad. You know, he was my role model, because he used to always dress slick. Wear big hats and suits and, you know all that. And, I just, you know, wanted to be like him.
Cobe (VO): I was eleven years old when my father got killed. He got beat with some baseball bats. And that just messed me up.
Cobe (VO): I used to be out there in the streets all through the night. I used to be in jails: Fighting, kicking off riots, and, you know, all crazy stuff.
Cobe: Just gang-banging.
Cobe in the streets, hollering to someone
Cobe: Oh, what up boy? Man, come holler at me, man! What’s up?
Tio (VO): Ricardo Cobe Williams, he’s a younger interrupter, which is a good thing. Once he came on board at Ceasefire, he began to really turn the heat on.
Tio: Cobe knows how to get in. He talks the language.
Tio (VO): And he knows what to say, when to say it.
Cobe: You two guys, man, you all been around hearin’ a lot of bullshit. Both of you all.
Hoodie: Robbing people, breaking in windows, all kinds of stuff.
Friend in white ball cap : Man, whenever I gotta do what I gotta do, I gotta do what I gotta do, you know. Don’t get it all twisted, once upon a time this man was out here too, doing the same thing we done and did…
Tio (VO): Cobe has big time credibility with the gang members out there.
Friend continues: …We gonna wait for the heat to come to us…
Cobe: Breaking out… look at them.
Cobe (VO): A friend of mine called me, very concerned about her two kids.
Toya: The streets is taking a toll.
Cobe (VO): They stay in the same house. And they be at each other because both of ‘em are in two different cliques.
Toya: Just threatening to kill one another. Shooting at each other. It’s just crazy. I can’t keep coming off the road. You know, cause I work for Amtrak, and not knowing if somebody’s gonna kick the door in because of this gang’s violence.
Toya: I just packed up and left. Yes.
Toya: I left the apartment in my name so they don’t be homeless.
Toya: So this my little honeycomb hideout.
Cobe: Oh, this your honey comb hideout.
Toya: They don’t know where I live, either.
Cobe: Your kids don’t?
Cobe: Your youngest son’s still locked up, right?
Toya: Yup. He don’t get out ’til 2016 for attempt murder.
Toya (VO): And he was seventeen when they got him.
Cobe: One thing, you still have all three of your kids. It’s some people…
Toya: Yep, I thank God for that. People say I’m crazy because (starting to cry), I always say if I lose one of my sons, I don’t want no funeral. I don’t want nobody to come, you know, give me condolences.
Toya: And they say that’s mean of me. But that’s how I feel.
Cobe: So just stay strong and keep your head up. Then I’m a try to reach out to them myself.
Toya: Well, I wish you luck in finding them.
Cobe: Yeah, just I’ll see, what I can do.
Toya: Cause I know, if they have a strong person, that’s lived that life, I think they could be saved. Cause I, I just can’t do it anymore.
Gary (VO): Violence is like the great infectious diseases of all history.
Gary: We used to look at people with plague, Leprosy, TB as bad and evil people, and something needs to be done about them and they were put in dungeons.
Gary (VO): What perpetuates violence can be as invisible today as the microorganisms of the past were.
Gary (VO): I had been overseas for about ten years at World Health working on infectious diseases.
Gary (VO): Coming back to the U.S., the violence is unavoidable. But I saw it as behavior, not as bad people. You can judge it, but it’s not what we do in science.
White Writing: I never had nothing against Poot and them. Nothing. When I came up, like I said, they shot at my car.
Gary (VO): For the young people in these neighborhoods, they see violence as their disease.
Gary: What they expect to die of is this.
White Shirt: Don’t tell me you gonna squash something then go back and do something else, and then you done made me look like a ass.
White Shirt: And if that’s what you want to do (gesturing a gun motion), then you put on big boy shoes, then you play big boy games.
Gary (VO): Violence is a two-step process.
Gary (VO): The first thought is: I have a grievance. He looked at my girl, he called me a name, he disrespected me, he owes me money.
Gary (VO): He’s a Sunni. He’s a Palestinian. He’s an Isreali.
Gary: The second thought is that grievance justifies violence.
Cobe: At the end of the day, nobody gonna win, man.
Gary (VO): Our work is about thought too.
Cobe: Your family hurting behind this shit.
Cobe: That’s why I’m saying ain’t no point in fit- you was wrong, you was wrong. Fuck all that. You know what I’m saying, motherfuckers just trying to move on, man.
Gary (VO): So the interrupter’s role, like the TB disease control worker’s role…
Gary (VO): …is to do this initial interruption of transmission.
Earl (VO): … Told the officers, that you didn’t, that you ain’t got nothing to say, you gonna deal with it yourself?
Cane (VO): Right.
Tio (VO): You got to drown yourself with the people and immerse yourself in the bullshit.
Tio: You have to talk as if, man I understand, man. I been there. I know how it is to hurt a motherfucker.
Cane: I’m not, I’m not no punk or nothing.
Cane: Only thing that came to my mind was, retaliate.
Cane: They got to know, they did the wrong person.
Tio (VO): I hear you, Jack, you know, you a hundred per cent right. And I’m with you man, if you gonna take care of your business, take care of your business.
Tio: But check this out. If I know you want to shoot the motherfucker, the police know already, your friends know, and somebody gonna tell on your ass.
Cane: Make sure you talk to the individual that did this to me.
Cane: You let ‘em know that you gonna keep this here peace. You doing this.
Tio (VO): Once you make sense out of the madness, then you start talking about the scientific theory. You start talking about the change of the behavior. Then you can give ‘em a history lesson.
Tio: You know, your daddy was violent, your granddaddy was fucked up, he was violent. You, now all your brothers are fucked up because you misled them. It’s time to save yourself, brother.
Sawyer: Allright, just give me time to work it.
Tio: I really understand why it’s not easy for people to back down for one reason. Because you’ve been taught all your life…
Tio: …in the community where I grew up in, you know, like, you know you got to stand up. No matter what happens. Death before dishonor.
Tio (VO): When I was fourteen years old, this guy beat me down in the streets. And my stepfather took his life right in front of me. And I felt, good about it, really.
Tio: And I was always a shaky criminal. I used to sell fake hash to the sailors down on Michigan Avenue.
Tio: I used to steal smoke detectors. They called us the smoke detector bandits.
Tio: I was playing on women, a lot, you know, women would help me. I had a lot of girlfriends that would give me money because I had a big old afro back then.
Tio: First started working with CeaseFire in nineteen ninety-nine. I told Gary I had a bachelors degree at that time. (Tio laughs) And Gary asked me, he’s like where is your bachelors degree at? I say, look man, hey, I was just trying to get in.
Tio: But I went back to school. I got my bachelor’s degree, with my master’s degree. I began to understand that we’ve been taught violence. It’s, violence is learned behavior.
Tio: Hear me clearly young brothers. I don’t mention gang names when I do my mediations, alright?
Tio (VO): At this transitional home for teenage parolees, the residents were in conflict with one another, and they were pulling in gang members from throughout the area, and it was about to blow up in a major way.
Tio: The problem that we have right now is about some money that lead to a fight, right? How much money was it?
Guy (VO): Like five dollars.
Tio: It was about five dollars, everybody?
Caprysha (VO): Dude said, instead of giving him five dollars, give him fifteen.
Caprysha: No, it don’t work like that. You ain’t fin a get no more than what you owed.
Curly-haired Guy: Me say, I’m not paying you’s.
Curly-haired Guy: Then five minutes later on, they came up here.
Home Director: It took me as a woman to stand in the middle of the street with fifteen guys, that I knew, no, knew nothing of-
Home Director: And take, come out of my pocket and pay fifteen dollars to keep peace. No respect for where you live at.
Tio: You think this could turn into gun play?
Caprysha: I think so, because it’s gonna escalate. It’s gonna keep going and going.
White Shirt: If we got to live here, man, I don’t want to bring these streets over here, man.
White Shirt: I ain’t trying to go back to that life. I’m one man. I can’t fight all them. What you think I’m a do?
SUBTITLE: White Shirt: Heck yeah I’m a go get me a thumper.
Tio: Like this brother just said, any time fifteen guys mob up on you, the first thing that comes across your mind, I need to be strapped to deal with that. If you got to live here and coexist with each other, someone has to be big enough to take the higher road.
Ameena: I’m hearing what they telling me in there, right. And to me, it’s like starting off with a five dollar bag of weed.
Young Man: It’s beyond that.
Second Young Man: It’s beyond that.
Ameena: But wait a minute.
Subtitle: Second Young Man: I get fed up.
Ameena: No, no. Nah.
SUBTITLE: Second Young Man: I get into a situation I ain’t supposed to be in.
Ameena: Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah. You got to play it like a big man. I got to play it like a big girl. When I get angry, I can bring some noise, if I want to. I go lay it down. I have to.
Ameena: Don’t make me feel like a punk. It make feel like, you know what? It’s fighting my own ego. I swear to god I wish I had someone to holler at me like I’m right here hollering at you. I would have not had the felony on my record. You understand what I’m saying? What we gonna do? We gonna fight about another five dollar bag of weed?
Second Young Man: [indistinct]
Caprysha: It ain’t worth it.
Ameena: They feed off her energy, too. So what you gonna do son? Tell me. And I’m a hold you to it.
Second Young Man: Make myself better.
Ameena: You too. [To Caprysha] Little Ameena.
Second Young Man: Yo, if they want to let it go, we can let it go.
Ameena: All right, I want to see some love.
Kenneth: So where you find these strangers at?
Cobe: Aha. These your people, man.
Bud: Ah, where y’all find him at?
Cobe (VO): Today I finally reached Toya and her two kids and we agreed to all sit down together and work things out.
Cobe (VO): This morning, Toya was steaming hot. She went by the apartment she left her kids. She saw Kenneth’s friend in there, bagging up some drugs. She went back and changed the locks.
Cobe: Shit, times hard. You got to have a job out here, man.
Kenneth: Yeah, man, or hustle. One or the other.
Toya: Hustling going to end you up one of two places.
Kenneth: It really don’t matter right now.
Toya: Well, if it don’t matter, why speak on it?
Bud: I guess that’s the same as your life. You not gonna make no progress.
Bud: You just got to learn to humble yourself. You thinking like, you want a hand out. No one’s going to give you anything.
Kenneth: Who you talking to? Him or me?
Bud: I’m talking, I’m talking in general, and if you listening, then I’m talking to you, too.
Kenneth: I’m really not listening to shit you’re saying, if you really want to know.
Bud: That’s why you in the predicament you is, now.
Bud: I don’t have time for this shit.
Toya: Ain’t nothing to make nobody happy.
Bud: What you been through that’s so hard? What you been through that’s so hard?
Kenneth: So what the fuck is you saying, B? You ain’t no boss of me boy.
Kenneth: SUBTITLE: Your crowd who you be around, that don’t make you no motherfucking man nigga.
Bud: Push comes to shove, whatever I say gonna go. If I want to, if I don’t want no motherfucker out there, ain’t nobody gonna be out there, nigger. Now what? Now what you gonna say?
Kenneth: That’s how you look at it. That’s how you look at it.
Kenneth: SUBTITLE: You’ll shoot at that crowd, then it’s on.
Kenneth: And I’m right there. Then it’s on.
Bud: SUBTITLE: Is you going to ride with your guys?
Cobe (overlap): Hey, hey. Hey Bud and Kenneth.
Cobe: Kenneth and Bud.
Cobe (VO): On our way down there I’m like, damn, did I make a mistake? You know what I’m saying? I don’t want them to get to fighting under my watch.
Cobe: I’m saying, one thing y’all missing, man. Y’all is blood brothers, man. Y’all ain’t no bad kids.
Cobe: Both of y’all finished school. Both of y’all ain’t been to motherfucking penitenti- that’s good.
Kenneth: I just hate how my own, my own people just think like, yeah, Kenneth, the type of crowd he be around-
Toya: Boy, if I wasn’t the parent that I was, you wouldn’t have made it through school. I made sure you had what you needed.
Cobe: Hey, hey, but Kenneth, I’m gonna tell you this though. She don’t want to see shit happen to y’all, man.
Toya: He can’t say when he need, or he need a bond I’m not there. I always bond him out of jail for stuff that I don’t even believe in.
Kenneth: I don’t need no, no, no other motherfucker. I never served for another man, or none of that shit.
Toya: Yes you have.
Kenneth: Always been on my own two.
Toya: Yes you have. Yes you have.
Kenneth: Always been on my own two.
Toya: That’s what you want.
Kenneth: If I, if I, if I had got something from another motherfucker, Cobe, I took it.
Toya: (Shouting over him) That’s what you want to believe.
Kenneth: Plain and simple. Cause I feel the motherfucker owed it.
Toya: …Go to work. You don’t have to…
Cobe: Yeah, I’m right here on Roosevelt and Ashland. Right here.
Toya: …Cause of favoritism. Ain’t no favoritism.
Cobe: Alright, come to the office, it’s heated right now.
Toya: A parent see when a person is led a certain way…
Cobe: Okay. Alright.
Tio (VO): If the clique that you are in…
Tio: … I ain’t putting you on the spot, but if they came at your brother, would you stop them?
Tio: You would. Okay. (To Bud) The clique you in, if they came at your brother, would you stop them?
Bud: Of course.
Tio: And my thing to you, when it come down to the street game, the only choices man is jails, deaths, and institutions. Do you feel you can be in a cell for twenty-three hours a day? A six by nine cell?
Kenneth: No, no man could be in that place for too- for that long.
Tio (VO): Huh? Well what’ll happen when you’re on the streets, though, little brother, you’ll run into a situation out there with your brother’s associates –
Tio: – you mad at your momma, you mad at your brother, you not thinking right, you high on some reefer, bam! You shoot some motherfucking body.
Kenneth: I ain’t that type of guy.
Tio: No, you ain’t that guy, but it happens.
Toya: Your brother not either. Look where he at?
Tio: Hear me, hear me clearly. Hear me clearly. Sixty per cent of the guys in the penitentiary were not them kind of guys.
Tio: They were probably sitting in the same seats like you’re sitting in and never thought it would happen to ‘em. I bet you.
Bud: I love my brother to death. He just don’t understand like, and, it’s not really a problem with him, it’s really a problem with like my mother and my grandmother. I just feel like they really do take sides, man.
Kenneth: I don’t got no problems with my brother. I love my momma to death, but she just don’t listen or try to just, try to relate a little bit. You know what I’m saying? And all the shit that she done while I’m growing up, you ain’t always been peaches and cream in your life either.
Toya: I ain’t never said I was. But at the same time you don’t have to go down that road and be the spoiled peach.
Kenneth: I’m really not. I’m really not. I’m really not.
Tio: You gonna have issues with your mother. Every damn kid in the United States, black or white, got issues with they parents, man. This ain’t nothing new.
Tio: Which one of you brothers can cook?
Toya: Neither one.
Kenneth: I could. I know how to cook, some of anything.
Tio: You cook your mother a meal one day, man, y’all need to sit down with your mother. You hear me, I know it’s kind of tough because you haven’t done it, but, you need to sit down with your mother, man. Have a family day –
Kenneth: My momma, I’m her oldest child.
Kenneth: SUBTITLE: She don’t even know, I know how to get down on a stove.
Tio: See, see.
Kenneth: You know, that’s kind of, that’s kind of odd to me. It’s not coming to me right. It’s just not coming to me right, right now.
Tio: Hahaha. That’s right. That’s right.
Cobe: Man, you know what I’d love to see though, for real man?
Tio: Right, right.
Cobe: I’d love to see y’all two embrace each other, man. You and your brother, man. For real.
Tio: I’m a let Cobe handle that one, there.
Cobe: I’d love to see y’all embrace each other, man.
Tio: And your mother. And your momma.
Cobe: And your momma, yeah, man.
Tio: Your mom, that’s what’s happening, right there, bro. You know, can you handle that, little brother? Huh? I ain’t, I ain’t gonna force you to do it. You know that. I ain’t gonna force your brother. But…
Cobe: Kenneth, you [indistinct] embrace your mom or your brother.
Kenneth: Mmm, not right now.
Cobe (VO): I was sick behind that shit. This your momma, man. I don’t care what. You should still always hug your momma and let her know you love her, man.
Ameena (VO): I just love Englewood. But it’s hard knocks, man. You know, it’s a old saying, Englewood is all good. It’s where-
Ameena: I learned all my life’s lessons.
Ameena: (screaming) Ah, I locked my keys in the car.
Guy on Bike: Ooo, I don’t even know how to do that.
Small Guy in Blue Hoodie: I got a screw driver and a wire, a, hang-
Ameena: A screw driver. Y’all gonna tear my car up.
Another Kid: What kind of lock she got?
Ameena: Whatever. [To someone passing] CeaseFire back in the hood.
Ameena (VO): Most of our mediations come through the community here.
Ameena (VO): They’ll tell us that it’s some tension in the air. And need us to come in and help out.
SUBTITLE: Devonte: I’m working with the feds.
Ameena: Quit playing. Before I bust your nose.
Devonte: I’m a pass these out to everybody and they mama.
Ameena: Just pass ‘em out to everybody and they mama, but I just didn’t want to have to see your drawers in the process of passing ‘em out. Did I have to?
Ameena: Well, why am I still seeing ‘em?
Ameena: But I thought you had got shot in your shoulders, but it was in your leg?
Yellow Shirt: It was these guys shooting at each other and the cars. So I jumped, cause I was trying to save my cousin. I had a big old hole in my leg, like this big.
Ameena: What your grades like?
Yellow Shirt: A’s B’s and C’s.
Ameena: A’s B’s and C’s.
Yellow shirt: And one D.
Ameena: What you wanna do- What’s the D in? It better not be in P.E. or I’m a hit you in your throat.
Yellow Shirt: Ha.
SUBTITLE: Young Girl: Look at his socks!
Ameena: Haha. I like those, too.
SUBTITLE: Other Girl: You took them from your sister.
Yellow Shirt: No I didn’t. I bought these.
Ameena: You think you hot, don’t you?
Ameena (VO): When I was growing up in Englewood, we still looked out for one another. To me, it’s like, there’s still some hope left.
Ameena: You think you hot.
Tio (VO): First and foremost, I want to thank the young brothers coming from Calumet City. Why don’t you stand up in the back, if you don’t mind.
Tio (VO): What happened last week, there was a big conflict with two different groups. We got a chance to really work with them young brothers. And a sister. When I met that sister she made it clear to me, she said, I’m a sister, brother, you know what I’m saying?
Ameena (VO): I been trying to call you.
Ameena (VO): Caprysha is a very loving young lady that had not had a chance to have a childhood.
Ameena: Substance abuse plays a, a huge part of the toxicness that she was raised around.
Ameena: I was worried. I know you wanted to go see your mother. But…
SUBTITLE: Ameena: Your momma don’t want you to see her?
SUBTITLE: Ameena: You think she using?
Ameena: Do you want to go?
SUBTITLE: Ameena: Or do you think if you see her you’ll get mad?
Caprysha: I’ll get mad.
Ameena: Alright, so we just gonna have to keep it moving. You gotta get, do you, be a big girl.
Ameena: You want to go skating this weekend?
Ameena: You do?
Ameena: Okay. I’m a send a car for you this weekend, cause it’s my eight-year-old’s birthday.
SUBTITLE: Ameena: She’s… a hot-ass mess.
Ameena: If I got time, I’ll come and get you myself. Alright, baby?
Ameena: Where is my husband?
Ameena: Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Ameena (VO): Today was a celebration for my daughter’s birthday party.
Ameena (VO): We’re really sad, because Caprysha was supposed to come skating with us.
Ameena (VO): So then I got the full scoop.
Ameena (VO) She wanted to get back in touch with her mom. And that caused her to feel.
Ameena: And she acted out on some old behavior.
Ameena (VO): She got high. She violated her parole.
Ameena (VO): So, she’s in the county jail.
Ameena: I need you guys to say please and thank you. Right Maddie? Okay? Right, right, right?
Cobe: Hi Alfreda. [indistinct]
Afreda: This is my baby. This is my heart. This is my baby.
Cobe (VO): I know my mama love me. I love my mama. I know she’ll do anything for me.
Cobe (VO): But when my dad got killed, things really just went down hill. My mother done come up, start using drugs.
Cobe: After my father died, she couldn’t deal with it. And I’m like-
Cobe (VO): That shit took a toll on me.
Cobe: I’m fin a drink me a cocktail today.
Mildred: No you ain’t.
Cobe: I ain’t drinking no cocktail.
SUBTITLE: Alfreda: Get momma one.
Cobe: I don’t want you to keep drinking.
Cobe: That’s why, God as my witness, I’m 38 years old right now. And I said, I wasn’t gonna never use drugs. I wasn’t gonna never drink.
Cobe (VO): I really started following in my daddy’s footsteps, though. Selling drugs, hustling, going back and forth to jail.
Cobe: What up Granny?
Mildred: I know they thought I was coming in through the back…
Cobe: Uh huh.
Cobe (VO): Coming up I was more close to my grandparent. And my grandmother from day one, stayed on me.
Cobe: Look at granny.
Mildred: Happy birthday to me!
Mildred (VO): I called him Carty, but his name Ricardo.
Mildred: Carty was one I guess I did do more for and took under my wing.
Cobe (VO): When I went to jail, my grandmother bonded me out. I’s like, grandma, I knew you was going to get me out, anyway. I’m your baby.
Cobe: She say go back and see. I went back. Grandma didn’t do none of that. [laughing]
Cobe (VO): I probably have broke her heart a lot of times, doing things I shouldn’t have been doing.
Cobe (VO): But she always remind me of the good in me.
Mildred (VO): He saved his life. Cause Carty had been shot at. Probably was shooting at people. So something turned him around.
Mildred: I ain’t gonna say it through me and his granddaddy but, he lucky.
Cobe: Hey, my Granny.
Mildred: Love you.
Cobe: Love you too, Granny.
SUBTITLE: Mildred: Y’all didn’t know we could handle that!
Ameena: (SINGING) I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
Ameena: (singing) I’ve seen the lonely times when I could not find a friend.
SUBTITLE: Madea: Now don’t sing.
Ameena: (singing) But I always thought that I’d see you, baby.
SUBTITLE: Madea: You will make me want to leave, because I will get up and walk away.
Ameena (VO): Ms. Madea’s always shot from both hips.
Ameena: I was with Madea from birth to nine, and from nine to about fifteen, I went and I did stay with, um, my biological mother.
Madea: Now we’re talking about my family, because I’m the mother of her biological mother. We need to honor and respect our children. We can’t just throw ‘em out there and throw ‘em away.
Ameena (VO): Because of the lifestyle that my mother lived, I went through a real rough journey.
Ameena (VO): Being abused, physically, emotionally, sexually, from the age of nine to the age of fifteen. So I just went back to Madea.
Ameena (VO): My grandmother lived in a apartment with four of us, and it was roach-infested. You know, once I started learning the game, my goal was to get Madea up out of there.
Ameena: But Madea was the type of woman that, that type of money? Don’t bring that shit in my house.
Ameena (VO): But I got caught up. I got caught up in that one more thousand, one more run.
Ameena: One more big hit.
Ameena (VO): I was introduced to Islam through my father.
Ameena (VO): It was always something inside of me that was constantly saying that I have to do better.
Ameena (VO): Allah sent me confirmation through someone else.
Sheikh Rasheed (VO): She knew what she wanted. That’s what lead her here.
Sheikh Rasheed: And so, we believe that, you know, it was a heavenly marriage.
Sheikh Rasheed: Allah, let your blessings and your peace be upon your servant.
Ameena (VO): My family keeps me very, very grounded.
Ameena: He took your phone? Noah took your phone?
Ameena: At the end of the day, I have to come in, cook dinner, help with homework. Tear some ass out the frame if I have to.
Ameena: Show him some Salaam love.
Ameena: Don’t do it no more.
Ameena: I’ll bust your jaw.
Ameena (VO): My family is really my real job.
Ameena: Out there in the community is a piece of cake for me.
Ameena (VO): My husband worries about me more than anyone else.
Sheikh Rasheed: There are times that I can’t be there physically with her, but I know that she is fearless and she will lay it on the line, and she’ll go up against a lion.
Sheikh Rasheed (VO): She will just stand up for anyone, because of experiences she’s had growing up, where someone didn’t stand up for her.
Ameena (VO): Our mosque is holding a prayer vigil for a kid shot sitting in front of his home, just listening to the radio. Corey definitely wasn’t in a gang and he was loved by his block.
Ameena (VO): When rage sets in, when ego sets in, when that Hennessy sets in.
Ameena: Okay, I’m going to walk down here where Corey’s friends are. You stay right here.
Ameena (VO): These young guys say, let’s go get who we think did it.
Ameena (VO): I’m hearing twenty different things why that brother got changed.
Ameena: And all of it is stupid. All of it is stupid.
Ameena: Two o’clock in the afternoon when these babies coming home from school, y’all shooting. For real?
Ameena: This is unacceptable for me to be holding this boy’s — this young man’s obituary. [She holds it up.] Schools, churches, your mama’s house, your cars, those are safe zones. When I was about your age, I was making some real stupid decisions. And some stupid calls, that was costing me my life. Blood on my hands, and my head. Stop.
Ameena: Who does this baby belong to? Who does this little shorty belong to? He just hanging around y’all?
Guy: That’s my little cousin.
Ameena: He just hanging, this little mo, this little mo, he just hanging around y’all, right? So he see everything that you all do, right? So if this brother right here catch a case and do a hundred years, whose fault is it? It’s his fault?
Guy: Uh uh. It’s our fault. It’s our fault.
Ameena: Teach him righteous.
Ameena: Y’all got it?
Ameena: Y’all got it?
Ameena: [To tall guy] You got it?
Tall guy: Yeah.
Ameena: Alright. I’m looking to you.
Young Man (VO): This is my, my little brother, on the left side. And my little cousin on the right side.
Young Man: Tyrone Williams and Percy Day, Jr.
Crying Girl (VO): Luis was killed trying to sign Michael’s altar.
Crying Girl: I held him to his last breath. I didn’t want to let him go.
Male (VO): I’ve lost at least twenty guys. It’s no answer to it, you know. You one of your guys got killed, fuck it. I’m gonna kill that nigger and make his family suffer.
Male (VO): I don’t want no shrines, beer bottles, drinks. Niggers crying, smoking weed. Pictures and shit. T-shirts. I don’t want none of that shit.
Guy with White Shirt: I don’t want to die looking stupid as hell. No.Fuck that.
Male Radio DJ (VO): “107.5 WGCI. Tony Sko and the morning riot and that’s right, it is the first day of school for all Chicago Public School students.”
2nd Radio DJ: “That’s right and we want you to hit us up, be safe out there”.
Female News Anchor: Youth violence in Chicago has gotten world attention.
Second Female News Anchor (VO): Sixteen-year-old honor student Derrion Albert was attacked as he walked home from school.
Anderson Cooper: A senseless killing this time was caught on videotape has put Chicago’s deadly epidemic in the spotlight.
Male News Anchor: Now there’s debate on a national level which all basically started with that viral video that came out, from the cell phone …
Male News Anchor: …of the clash between the two gangs outside Fenger High School that killed Derrion Albert right in the middle.
Ameena (VO): I seen the video.
Ameena: And I said – Aw man, I hope his mother does not see this.
Man (VO): Come on down. Come on down.
Ameena: It’s a lot of people here for your brother. You know that, right?
Ameena: It’s a lot of people, okay?
Orange Hat: Stay in that circle. We got security on both sides of you.
Ameena (VO): Anjanette needed help getting him a funeral.
Ameena (VO): She needed help trying to make sense of what just happened to her son.
Ameena: I got resources for Anjanette to put Derrion in a mausoleum, next to her mother.
Ameena: Only the family. Nobody else.
Anjanette (VO): Ameena’s very very important to us.
Anjanette: Everything I went through she was right there with me. (Tearfully shakes her head.)
Man (VO): We’re praying for this family.
Man (VO): We’re praying that God will heal their hurts. And I’m praying for all of you, my brothers and my sisters.
Man in Black Hat: This is a problem in our community. It’s a problem in our city. It’s a problem in our nation.
Tio (VO): Once the media has gone back to wherever they came from, we have to step up to the plate and make something happen over there.
Man in Black Hat: …year after year, who are not doing anything about this problem.
Man in Black Hat (VO): I’m talking about the police department. I’m talking about all those who are doing nothing…
Tio (VO): The person that was videotaping the goddamn beating was saying…
Tio: …Zoom in, zoom in, put that nigger to sleep.
Tio: That’s what you heard the people saying in the background. So that goes to show you the mindset. Cause I know Ameena, she’s spending a lot of time with the family still, they trying to fix his face, so they can have a open casket. I heard some interviews from the young brothers. They say they don’t know why the hell they fighting. They just hate each other. The guys from Altgeld Gardens, they were attending Carver School. Which was turned into a military school. A lot of guys didn’t want to go to a military school. So they transferred the guys to Fenger.
Tio (VO): So now you got these guys coming from a whole other neighborhood.
Black Hoodie Interrupter: When they laid there and closed down Carver High School, and started letting these guys get to school any kind of way they can, riding on the bus, walking, or what have you, you left it to them that they had to defend themselves.
Black Hoodie Interrupter: And the Ville is fighting Altgeld Gardens, they’ve been doing that since the sixties, man.
Tio: We up against history.
Blue Shirt: Yeah, and we gotta respect history, but, it shouldn’t play a big factor in this table.
Blue Shirt: Man, we got over five hundred years of prison time at this table.
Blue Shirt: That’s a lot of fucking wisdom.
Blue Shirt: How the hell are we gonna let these kids school us, that we were schooling them?
Tio: We’re want to try and work this conflict out. Because right now they just had another big fight up at Fenger while we talking…
Tio: The beat goes on.
Eddie with young man in grey, gold, and black jacket jacket.
Eddie: That’s that brother right there, man? They put him in the, that’s the body?
Eddie (VO): Damn, that’s fucked up, man.
Eddie (VO): This young brother that we just finished doing some mediating with, his close friend just got killed. The possibility of retaliation at that moment was very, very likely.
Black-haired woman (VO): They just right now shot on Thirtieth and Kedville, again.
Eddie: Thirtieth and Kedville?
Black-haired woman: Right now.
Eddie: Get the fuck out of here. Again right now?
Black-haired woman: Right now. A couple of minutes ago.
Eddie: Police are going to be harassing a lot of guys over here whether they’re affiliated or not. I think the police should enforce the laws but I think it’s the way they go about it. There’s a reason why people in the community don’t really like talking to the police.
Eddie: They see other guys: they see their nephews, they see their brothers and their sisters, you know, being harassed.
Eddie (VO): Just because there’s a high presence of police right now, that doesn’t mean nothing for these guys, man.
Eddie (VO): Within thirty hours there was about seven shootings.
Tio (VO): Eddie always presents himself as a preppy, school-going, collegiate type of guy.
Eddie: I said, look man there ain’t nothing shakin’ man, they ain’t tryin’ to hear it and… (trails off)
Tio: When you talk to him about his street past, oh no, we don’t want to go there man. We don’t want to go there (laughs). But at the same time, he came from the lifestyle with the Latino gangs.
Tio (VO): And he wasn’t no low-level member. He was right there with the leader. They called him Bandit, because he would end up taking something from you.
Eddie (VO): My nickname. Haha.
Eddie: Well, I was pretty good at stealing cars. I was, give me a screw driver and less than a minute, and I’m gone with your car.
Eddie (VO): Well, this is the block in Little Village that I actually grew up in.
Eddie (VO): I have a lot of memories here.
Eddie: I, I, right hand to God, I had about half of this parking lot full of stolen cars at one time.
Eddie (VO): But one day, the city, I guess, found all the stolen cars.
Eddie: So there was about, seven, eight tow trucks, just lined up, taking these cars out.
Eddie (VO): Most of our parents, immigrants from Mexico. Worked two jobs. Grew out in the street, runnin’ around.
Eddie (VO): My dad was a hardworking person. He fixed cars.
Eddie: And I would see my dad’s hands, and they’d be full of calluses, you know, and you know, cuts all over his arm, burn marks, you know from the blow torches.
Eddie (VO): From day one, I told myself, I am never going to be fixing cars. It wasn’t me. I didn’t feel it. It lit up in me, when I saw some things in the neighborhood. And I’d see these guys hanging out, a lot older than I was. They had the nice cars, they had the girls, flashing their colors.
Eddie: What it was they had a pride of who they really were, they had an identity and they were proud of that identity.
Eddie (VO): Half of my life I was in prison. That’s why I do what I do now. To me it’s a personal thing.
Eddie (VO) How you’ve been feeling? You’ve been moving around a little more? Or not, or what?
Guy Who Was Shot: Yes. Before I couldn’t even walk.
Guy Who was Shot: This is my dressing I got to clean. You know I got to take a dump right here in a bag…
Eddie (VO): How much of an impact are we making? If we stop one shooting tonight, we did good.
Guy Who was Shot: … where the bullet went through?
Eddie (VO): But how do we stop maybe the same person shooting somebody the next day?
Other Interrupter: Has anybody been here to visit?
Guy Who Was Shot: A couple of my friends.
Eddie: They’ve been cool, or they’ve been like, oh man, fuck that.
SUBTITLE: Guy Who Was Shot: Yeah… they be on some hype shit.
Guy Who Was Shot: You know how it is.
Eddie: Am I really helping? Some people I can’t. Even as much as I want to, they don’t want the help.
SUBTITLE: Father: I tell him that there is no reason to look for revenge. (TRANSLATION)
SUBTITLE: Eddie: That’s for sure. To what end? (TRANSLATION)
SUBTITLE: Revenge isn’t anything. (TRANSLATION)
Daley: The needless and brutal violence that continues to take our children from us is an outrage.
Holder: Youth violence is not a Chicago problem.
Holder (VO): It is something that affects communities big and small, and people of all races and all colors. It is an American problem.
Duncan: I promise to work as long as necessary to rid our country of this plague.
Reporter: Secretary Duncan, I’ve heard you say those things many times. What’s different now?
Duncan: What’s different that it takes capturing Derrion Albert’s death on video to wake the country. We were dealing with children being shot every single day. I never saw a crowd like this, ever.
Tio: All the professionals working in this field, they knew about the hostilities around Fenger. So there was no way in the world that should have really occurred, to be real with you.
Tio: I talked to the mayor’s office today. We’re gonna bring together the guys that are in the conflict. And they’ve agreed to meet with us. I think we can get all the brothers we need. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Cobe: If they willing to come sit down here and talk with us, you know, people need to talk to them. Come to see what’s on they mind, the kids’ mind.
Cobe: What’s up Tay? You just got kicked out of Fenger, man. You want to go back to Fenger?
Tay: Yeah, you know I do.
Cobe: So how you feel about them people come from Altgeld Gardens out there?
Tay: I used to get into it with them a lot though, but…
Dreds (VO): That’s what it is though, man.
Dreds (on Cam): Either fighting or shooting. That’s how got to solve ya’ll prob- these problems nowadays, cause if you don’t do it, they gonna try and do it to you.
Tay: If you don’t go hard, it’s your life.
Cobe (VO): Me and my wife was looking for a house. I didn’t want the kids to grow up and really experience the things I’ve experienced all my life.
Cobe (VO): We way out here, man. Way out yonder, man.
Andrea: Instead of gun violence, we probably have to worry about rabbits and deer, and I’m okay with that.
Cobe: Man, my wife came from the streets. She used to be around rough riders, people who lived the same lifestyle I lived.
Andrea: I ended up getting pregnant at about sixteen, and, and did a 360. So.
Cobe (VO): I met my wife in 2002. And she already had three kids.
Andrea (VO): It wasn’t love at first sight. Probably not even love at second sight.
Andrea: He’s very nerdy. Very, very nerdy person. [she shakes her head].
Cobe: Man, my wife a mess. But, like most wives. No, no, but I love my wife.
Cobe (VO): That’s short. He at the thirty. Ahhh!
Andrea (VO): Cobe as a dad, he’s really good.
Andrea (VO): He’s there for every football game.
Andrea (VO): My kids really enjoy him, especially my daughter.
Andrea: That’s, that’s her everything. Her Cobe.
Cobe: Ooo, hoo. Jake. Oh.
Guy in orange hoodie: That’s the trick play. That’s called A -1.
Cobe: What really made me start thinking more about doing the right thing, I started thinking about my son.
Cobe (VO): I remember I was in jail, and they brought me out with handcuffs ’til the judge called us, and….
Cobe (VO): My son ran up to me and hugged and kissed me and grabbed me and started crying.
Cobe: So instantly I got so emotional and like, I think tears was coming, you know what I’m saying. And, like dad, dad, I love you. I love you.
Cobe (VO): As I’m going back to the back, my son just like…
Cobe: …broke down in front of everybody, just crying. I want my daddy. I want my daddy.
Cobe (VO): I started thinking more about him. Wanted to change my life because I wanted to be there for him.
Caprysha: It was so much that they had to do.
Ameena: To get you released?
Caprysha: Yeah, to get me released.
Ameena (VO): Caprysha had to stay in the jail…
Ameena (VO): for almost a month. I was the first call on her way home. And, that experience was just such an eye-opener for her. She said she didn’t want to do it again.
Caprysha: My mom had just went to court. They talking about taking her last four kids.
Ameena (VO): She’s been in over fifteen different homes. She’s raised herself and her sisters and brothers.
Ameena: While her mom was out doing whatever her mom was doing.
Caprysha: The money that I get, I’ll go buy my drugs and start selling drugs out on the block, just to make money for my sisters and brothers, for them to have what they wanted.
Caprysha (VO): I blame myself for my sisters and them being in DCFS. I blame myself for a lot of stuff that I know that it wasn’t my fault.
Ameena: Right, What is your goal?
Caprysha: To get my high school diploma, go to college to be a pediatrician, and, like, take care of, like, and then with like, my free time, take care of my, go get my sisters and them.
Ameena (VO): And her saying what her goals and dreams are, who am I to say, you can’t do that. Look at your record. Look at Ameena’s record.
Ameena (VO): Being a violence interrupter, nothing surprises me. But being a mother, and seeing this eighteen-year-old never riding on a carousel, kind of blew my mind.
Ameena (VO): It’s true that it’s only so much that I can do. And that’s just one Caprysha.
Ameena: But it’s, it’s hundreds of thousands of Capryshas out there.
Ameena: Now, this is a very expensive manicure. If I see you out there biting your nails, we gonna be on the ground, boxing.
Ameena (VO): You better be worried.
Salon worker: How does it feel? Nice, right?
Ameena: Don’t slap him. Don’t hit him. Enjoy it.
Salon Worker: So where are you from?
Salon Worker: And what made you move all the way out here?
Caprysha: Cause I was getting in trouble. I used to fight every day in school.
Salon Worker: Where does that get you?
Salon Worker: Where does that get you, fighting?
Salon Worker: Finally figured that out, huh?
Salon Worker: Only for one brief second you become the winner.
Salon Worker: But then, the only thing you win is your own pride. But, but, where’s that gonna take you anywhere in life?
Caprysha: I don’t go out and start trouble with everybody.
Ameena: You know, you deserve to be happy. You know, you nineteen. You deserve, like you said, to be having girly stuff done.
Ameena: That’s a whole different hand, man.
Ameena: Why do you feel like you want to cry but you don’t want to.
Caprysha: I don’t know.
Ameena: It’s okay. I cry. Big girls cry. Angels make prayer in your tears, when you, when you crying and you grateful. When you’re crying and you’re asking God to help you.
Ameena: I’m really so glad I met you, man.
Ameena: You know?
Eddie (VO): You guys remember…
Eddie (VO): …where we left off, last week? We’re working on our what?
Student (VO): Backgrounds.
Eddie (VO): Backgrounds, right? It’s about using your brush.
Eddie: Criss crosses. C’s.
Eddie: (VO): Last year, I had a hard time going to schools. I was like hey look; I work for a violence prevention program. A lot of them didn’t want to acknowledge that there was issues in their schools.
Brown Haired Girl (VO): I used a pencil to sketch it out.
Brown Haired Girl: And I shaded the background.
Eddie: You shaded it. Okay.
Eddie (VO): Namaste contacted CeaseFire. There were actually focusing after school about violence and how they could help the community and so forth.
Eddie (VO): And I was like, what do you think about the idea of like maybe, introducing art for them to express themselves about violence.
Eddie: Now this one right here, I kind of really like this one.
Eddie (VO): And when I was in prison, painting was my form of dealing with my issues, and my problems and really discovering myself.
Eddie: You got this angel, he’s in Hell, and behind him is like some demons, taunting him…
Eddie (VO): Art is kind of a way to hook the kids, you know about what’s going in their community and what they’re thinking about.
Eddie: What’s the one thing in the neighborhood that you wish, people could focus on more, to help out?
White Shirt Boy: Spray painting.
Eddie: Spray painting. What about you?
Long brown hair: The shootings in the neighborhood.
Eddie: The shootings?
Long brown hair: Because my mom’s scared that there’s gonna be a shooting going on me, while I’m outside.
Girl with brown bangs (VO): I would like, want them to help with the shooting, because that really bothers me.
Eddie: Why does it bother you?
Girl with brown bangs: Because there was this one time where our neighbors got into a fight and… I don’t know what else happened, but somebody started shooting. [She begins to cry]. And… I really [indistinct]
Eddie: Being part of this program, that’s a great thing, because it shows that you cared, and that you want to do something about it.
Eddie (VO): And I just wish that these kids, if they ever go through that, it doesn’t affect them the same way it affected me. My coping mechanism is keep going, keep going, keep going. Keep working.
Eddie: I think I stay busy just to stay out of bullshit, and, try to forget about some of the things that I’ve done.
Eddie (VO): When I was eighteen a very close friend of mine was paralyzed.
Eddie (VO): I’m feeling this anger, I’m feeling this rage. I’m feeling like, they shot one of our guys, we’re going back.
Eddie (VO): When I pass through that block it seems so different. And I try to kind of rewind. And no matter how much I try to remember it, it just don’t come out.
Eddie (VO): It’s hard for me to say the victim’s name.
Eddie (VO): And, and even the crime. I guess, I really try to detach myself, like, like not putting a face. But in reality that face is there. The face is still there.
Eddie: And I, I had to be careful as well, here, cause I knew these guys were packing. And, I’d say by the fire hydrant over there.
Eddie (VO): This dude just kind of came out the cars.
Eddie: Shot him pretty much point blank. It was a whole bunch of his friends, too, that were behind the cars. And I was trying to shoot them as well. But, it was more like on the defensive side by that time. It was more like, just to make sure that they didn’t shoot at me.
Eddie (VO): It’s funny because this block itself has claimed a lot of lives. This one particular block right here.
TIO (VO): Do you all think we can establish some type of coexistence or peace up in Fenger high school if we all work together?
Female Student: Fenger can be a better place if the Gardens won’t come up to there, tryin’ to- (She is interrupted by noise from other students.)
Tio (VO): Listen, hear her out. Hear, give everybody respect. Hear her out, hear her out.
Jeans Jacket: I live in Altgeld Gardens. And, all this, it’s the Gardens, and they animals. It’s both ways.
Female Speaker: I cannot believe that I’m looking at what has happened to the young people here. You don’t have to fight anybody.
Gray Hoodie Guy (VO): They always giving these speeches and stuff.
Gray Hoodie Guy on camera: Everybody don’t think the same way. Everybody don’t think the same way.
Ameena: It’s about you all’s life. And you all need to be heard all the way through ends of sentences. So I’m a throw some scenarios at you, and I want you all to just answer honestly. One of your friends was just beat up at a party over the weekend. You see a couple of kids that your friend identifies as the dude that stole on him. What do you think would happen next?
Girl with braids: I feel that we gonna fight. Cause it wasn’t, it wasn’t no problem when they jumped on my friend over the weekend, so if we see them walking, we gonna fight.
Girl with purple purse: It ain’t like y’all put it. It’s not that easy. You might walk away and somebody might put, hit you in your head with a bat or something.
Ameena: Who like to fight?
Girl with purple purse: I don’t like to fight –
Other girls join in unison: but I’ll fight if I have to.
Girl’s Voice: That’s how it is, but.
Other girl’s voice: I’ll fight. I’ll fight anybody.
Guy with blue hat: Everybody fighting.
Ameena: Why you so angry? Why, why you love to fight?
Guy in gray hoodie: Cause it’s just the way I was brought up. I just always had to fight.
Ameena: Always had to fight.
Guy in Gray hoodie: Basically.
Ameena: It’s hot out there. When I grew up I used to wake up wanting to bite somebody. Just bite somebody. And I understand a hell-raiser liking to fight. But walking away from a fight ain’t always meaning that you punk.
Guy in Gray Hoodie: SUBTITLE: It’s meaning that you the bigger and the better person -
Guy in Gray Hoodie: – but not to them. When they look at it they gonna think you a punk and little bitch and all that. But.
Ameena: As I got older and weighed out my consequences and saw everybody that I was raised with that loved to fight was in the penitentiary again. Does that mean you a punk still?
Tio: It’s a myth that most of the violence is gang-related because a lot of the violence is interpersonal conflict. Guys get into it for the most pettiest reasons out here.
Tio (VO): So it’s all about respect and disrespect. Not being accepted in the overall society, a lot of people feel ostracized, so what they do? They try to dominate their surroundings.
Ameena (VO): I didn’t eat this morning. I’m wearing my niece’s clothes. I just was violated by my mom’s boyfriend. I go to school and here comes someone that bumps into me and don’t say excuse me.
Ameena (VO): You hit zero to rage within thirty seconds. And you act out.
Eddie (VO): Some of these kids, man, they don’t care about tomorrow. Fuck tomorrow. That’s what they gonna tell you.
Eddie: I’m trying to survive today, right now. I’m trying to live right now.
Eddie (VO): I’m trying to make sure I don’t get shot. I’m trying to make sure that my boy next to me doesn’t get shot. And if he does, guess what? I’m gonna go over there and shoot them too.
Slutkin: So this is what violence interrupters do. Reducing shootings and killings.
Slutkin: And then the deeper part of the whole program is changing norms.
Slutkin: In in Chicago, the interrupters have interrupted about fourteen hundred such events. We average about a 40-45% drop in shootings and killings in the areas where we are put in.
Delegation member: Have you had incidents where the police feel that you should have given them information and you didn’t, and that you were on the side of the offenders?
Slutkin: If we were to do that, we would not be effective.
Norman: We are trying to keep Ceasefire neutral, uh politically as far as the relationship with law enforcement and the community.
Delegation member: I mean I I’m confused when you say neutral. How are you seen as being a neutral force in that area? Because there’s right and there’s wrong.
Kerr: It’s not about right and wrong on one side. We don’t want law enforcement thinking that we are coddling these criminals and we’re hiding information so they can continue doing negative behavior. And we don’t want the community thinking that we’re stool pigeons reporting information that they give us to law enforcement.
Slutkin: You know, the right and wrong of these conflicts is all point of view. Whether you’re going to take it back one day or five years or two hundred years. I mean everyone has got a grievance and so we just have to say that no matter what, the additional violence isn’t going to be helpful. So we’re not in the, the um, the good and bad game. We’re not in that drama.
Tio: It’s just hard, because these guys are still uh, cut from the code of the streets.
Tio (VO): I’ve seen the faces of the Interrupters when we hear that a seven-year-old girl got shot. Interrupters say, “Man, Somethin’ needs to be done.” But it’s hard for these brothers to make that quantum leap into turnin’ somebody in.
Tio: The police support CeaseFire, but when they first started down here I got criticized. You know, from everybody, police, people down here on CeaseFire staff. You know, when you are hiring all these, you know, go for tough guys. But how the hell you really gonna stop the violence?
China Joe (VO): We was mediating that situation, a guy recently was released from prison, and he thought the man was…
China Joe: …talkin’ about him. And got out the car and punched the man and and his brother…
Tio (VO): China Joe was known as the Gladiator. All vice lords had to fight China Joe to become a vice lord. How do you think that makes a young guy feel?
Tio (VO): Man China Joe just told me to stand down.
China Joe (VO): …all good, he shook his hand. Hugged him…
China Joe: …and we left it at that.
Tio: When Violence Interrupters have to use the threat of violence to actually mediate a conflict, this is where the rubber meets the road at. Because in reality, you cannot mediate conflicts without confrontation.
Phone: First saved voice message..
Cobe (VO): He left me a voicemail.
The voicemail plays through speaker phone: What up there.
SUBTITLES: I got some important news to talk to you about.
Voicemail continues: I need you to call me back, but I might need…
Cobe (VO): I got a call from a guy I met in jail. He said the guy sent police in his house, he was doing illegal things.
Voicemail: SUBTITLES: Emergency, emergency. Call me back.
Cobe (VO): Said the police kicked his door in, locked up his brother, they threw handcuffs on his mother.
Cobe (VO): And he talking about he knew who…
Cobe (VO): …had sent the police in his house. He was looking for ‘em.
Flamo: Fuck that pussy-ass nigger.
Cobe: What’s up, what’s up, what’s up though?
Cobe (VO): My man Flamo, he’ll make you laugh. But if you fuck with him, you better bring it on.
Flamo: These motherfuckers came here man. Had my motherfuckin’ mama handcuffed. My little brother handcuffed and shit man. Took my little brother, one that got shot. In a fuckin’ wheelchair man. Took him to jail.
Cobe: But still though man, you got to try to leave that shit alone.
Flamo: Man I ain’t leavin’ shit alone until I get these motherfuckers. You already know how I get down.
Cobe: I mean, but that shit ain’t gonna make no…
Flamo: Fuck that. Boy it’s gonna make it better for me.
Cobe: I’m sorry to hear about your brother, but still though that don’t make shit no right.
Flamo: Oh damn I need my phone.
Cobe: That ain’t gonna make shit no better though.
Flamo: Fuck making it better.
SUBTITLES: Flamo: I’m walking around with my fucking pistol. Can you grab my phone brother.
Flamo: I can’t, you know.
Cobe: Man, you crazy man be out here like this.
Flamo: I’m listenin’ to you man. It’s love, and everything. But I ain’t feelin’ that, none of this shit. And I respect y’all, you know what I’m sayin, what you doin’ and everything. That’s cool.
Flamo: I’m not with CeaseFire. What was y’all at when these motherfuckers came kickin’ my door in?
Hot Rod: What I’m sayin’ is, we can’t erase what already happened, but the whole thing is you gotta look at it like man…
Flamo: You can’t erase what happened. You right. And you can’t predict what the fuck I’m finna do. Shit.
Cobe: You know we just try to work shit out.
Hot Rod: We try to offer you options and solutions to the problem.
Flamo: Man. Fuck this shit.
Flamo: Fuck a problem. Fuck a solution. You ain’t just crossed me, you cross my fuck in’ mama. For my mama nigger I come in your crib and kill every motherfuckin’ body.
Cobe: Two of your brothers gone. If you be gone that ain’t gonna do nothin’ but hurt your mama.
Flamo: She’ll be alright.
Cobe: How many kids you got?
Flamo: I’m claiming four. That’s it.
Cobe: Alright I’m just sayin’ so if you go to jail who gonna take care of your kids?
Flamo: That’s the thing. God takin’ care of us now. He gonna take care ‘em. Just like when I do what I’m gonna do. He gonna take care of me too.
Cobe: But you was locked up before for the same shit though.
Flamo: Man I been, I’m 32 years old. I been locked up 15 years of my life. What that mean? What the fuck that mean? That’s where I grew up at. God damnit. Ain’t no shame. Ain’t no secret. Shit. I’m tired of bein’ out here any motherfuckin’ ways. It’s boring as hell, soft-ass niggers out here ain’t doin’ shit but trickin’.
Flamo: That ain’t the police is it?. What’s that on the corner? I know these punk ass police still want me. Motherfuckers gonna have to kill me.
Cobe: Now that shit crazy man.
Flamo: How can you help me? Right now. How can you help me?
Cobe: I mean the only thing, like I say, the only thing I can do is try to get to know you more, spend a little time with you and try to work with you man.
Flamo: So that mean you are take me out to dinner then? We can go to lunch right now. And we can sit down, we can talk about this motherfucking problem. That’s what you telling me?
Cobe: Yea. Yea.
Flamo: I’m gonna hold you to that God damn shit.
Cobe: Yea we could go out if that’s what you wanna do.
Flamo: When? When?
Cobe: We could go out now.
Flamo: Right now?
Flamo: Let me go put my pistol up.
Cobe: Shit I don’t know. We’ll just see.
Cobe: Hot Rod make sure though man he ain’t got shit on him.
Flamo: I’m I’m good. I ain’t got nothin’.
Cobe (VO): It’s a rough one. I think that’s one of the worst ones I had.
Cobe (VO): He kept coming and going with us. One minute I think I’m reachin’ him, he calmed down. And then he blow right back up.
Cobe (VO): Anytime you got a person who stay there and talk with you, you got a chance of working it out with them.
Tio: Uh Melvin, these this is the time of the month we go over the conflicts that we turn in once a month.
Cobe (VO): Before the meeting started Tio talked to him for a nice little minute.
Cobe (VO): Tio was tellin’ him just come listen. Just check it out. If you don’t like it, you can walk out right away.
Tio: I’m gonna shift the agenda to just bring up a hypothetical problem that’s taking place somewhere in our town. Let’s say somebody tricked on your brother.
Tio: And somebody called the police and said that he has some guns in the house. And the police came and locked your brother up. They found two guns and they put your mother in handcuffs. And you know who the guy is that told on your brothers. Now how would we resolve a conflict like that?
Interrupter #1: If we gonna keep it 100 that’s real real hard. When you put mama into somebody else’s business, that’s that’s super duper hard.
Interrupter #2: We ain’t gonna be effective in all interventions.
Interrupter #2: There’s gonna be some that gonna slip through the cracks.
Interrupter #3: I let him know that, “Hey, you get messed up, you addin’ to the burden. So what you gotta do is you gotta put your little personal pride aside and start dealing with this thing on a realistic, responsible way to start tryin’ to figure out a way to get your brother from up out of that drama and ease your mother.
Interrupter #4: You wanna be tough to be a hero, goin an be like the rest of our guys who’s locked up.
Tio: I think that’s good for now. Got some solid feedback. Leave it alone at that. Allright, so this is what’s happening right now. We got a situation over at Michelle Clark High School.
Tio (VO): I think when you first started meeting with him…
Tio: …he was on 10.
Tio: And now I think he’s at like a level 5.
Tio: The only problem now Cobe, if he was to see this guy tonight, there’s gonna be a problem. What’s gonna happen now, you gotta babysit him. You and Hot Rod gonna have to take turns.
Cobe: I know you tired of waitin’. Let’s get out of here man. CeaseFire for life.
Flamo: Man, about time.
Tio (VO): Cobe is one of the best violence Interrupters, but he knows how to walk away. That’s very important because if you don’t know how to walk away, you can end up getting hurt.
Tio (VO): We’ve had some close calls. Several Violence Interrupters have been shot at.
Tio: Brother Joel. Certain amount of pain?
Tio (VO): This is the first time one of our Violence Interrupters ever got shot.
Tio: I came up here to tell you we appreciate you. And uh everything you did to try to mediate that particular conflict.
Tio: I’m just glad you uh, survived. You know?
Joel: Yea. There was a couple guys down the block arguin’ over some money. As I was approaching them, I had like a, a something telling me like it wasn’t even the right moment to even interrupt them.
Joel: One of ‘em said, “Who are you? You ain’t from around here.” So I go talk to his other friend. And then um, and that’s when he shot me up.
Tio: When you turned your back?
Joel: Yea, when I turned my back.
Tio: So you got shot in the ankle and in the back right?
Joel: In my ankle and in my lower right back.
Joel: They opened my whole stomach open.
Tio: Yea, that’s tough little brother. Um, cause the day you got shot there were like 16 shootings in six hours.
Tio: Cause I need you to know all the guys came up here Friday. All the brothers were here.
Joel: …yeah, Zale was telling me.
Tio: Yea, we were here you know. And uh, hmm. [Tio pauses as he tries to keep from crying.]
Tio: It’s, it’s just kinda tough that’s all.
Joel: I understand.
Tio: When I thought about you uh getting shot and your father was there. Cause I have sons, you know, got a son like 24. Got another son that’s like 28 years old, believe it or not. So when I thought about it… [Tio coughs and pauses again to hold back his tears.] I gotta collect myself, that’s all. Yep. And I’m only human you know. Yep, we be good, we be alright though. You know we just gotta keep on pushin’. Okay?
Tio: Appreciate you little brother.
Tio: Okay, I’m gonna get on up out of here. And I’ll be back Wednesday.
Tio: Alright. Yep. Oh man. Yea.
Ameena (VO): I’m begging you my brothers, I’m begging you my sisters, let God do what God needs to do for Duke.
Ameena: Once we lay this brother down in the ground, we got work to do.
Ameena (VO): Jesse Smith got shot in a retaliation for another student that got shot. But it wasn’t Jesse that did the shooting.
Amena (VO, from funeral speech): The family has to heal and we have work to do.
Spencer Leak (VO): I’m just seeing in the last ten, fifteen years, random violence like I’ve never seen it before. Last year…
Leak: …of the 125 homicides where we serviced those families, about 90 percent were young people.
Leak (VO): These children don’t expect to live past thirty. They come to these funerals, and I watch them and they represent, and they put themselves in the place of the person in the casket.
Leak: These young people are in reality saying this is what I want to happen when, when I’m killed.
Ameena: Affectionately known as Duke…
Ameena (VO): I heard little buzzes in the air that they were coming to shoot the funeral up to get the person that they were intending to get. I called for all hands on deck.
Ameena: Left behind his loving mother, Lanea Smith.
Ameena (VO): The mother got in touch with CeaseFire. I’ve never met this mother before. She said I need you to be there Ameena.
Ameena (VO): I just would want somebody to do that for my son.
Duke’s Girlfriend: A lot of y’all might not know me but -
SUBTITLE: Duke’s Girlfriend: I’m Duke’s girlfriend.
SUBTITLE: Duke’s Girlfriend: I was his sun and he was my sky.
SUBTITLE: Duke’s Girlfriend: And I remember one thing before he left out…
SUBTITLE: Duke’s Girlfriend: That day I was talking about everything. I’m planning to get a tattoo of Duke and everything.
Duke’s Girlfriend: They woke me out of my sleep and said my baby was gone. That’s my baby, that’s my heart. Rest in peace baby, I love you.
Ameena: I need everybody from the ages of 13 to 24 to stand up.
Ameena: I’m the second oldest daughter to Jeff Fort. To ones that call Malik Chief. And I’m fed up. Because each and every one of you all can be Duke right here.
Ameena: I’m gonna be real honest with you all, because see we real talkin’ up in here, cause Duke is real layin’ right in front of us. And it’s a reason why this brother is here. I see these red caps. My brothers.
Ameena: I know we hurt because we love Duke. But we got a responsibility to bring up our community to be vibrant. Whatever it is that’s going on, cease the fire, call a truce.
Leak (VO): I was the chauffeur for Dr. Martin Luther King when SCLC made their first venture into the north by way of Chicago.
Leak (VO): The black community, we were the nobodys. And the Civil Rights era gave us hope that we could be somebody. How can the president of the United States be a black man?
Leak: I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. But while I’m seeing the president on television and the images of him leading the free world, I’m still burying black kids. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Cobe: Oh, I’m gonna get stuck in this snow.
Cobe: Where my man at? Where he at? Where he at? Where Flamo?
Cobe: How you doin’ sir?
Flamo: I’m alright. Hold on.
Cobe: What’s up what’s up Flamo? How you feelin’ today man? You alright? How things been going for you?
Flamo: Well you know I can’t sell drugs right now, so I got to gamble. Man I just lost.
Cobe: I’m just so happy man you calmed down though man, you know. You been thinkin’ in another way, and that’s, that’s very good man.
Flamo: Man. It’s hard. I wanna stop doin’ what I’m doin’, but shit, don’t push me.
Flamo: And you know the good thing? I stopped a little commotion on the block a little while ago.
Cobe: You stopped something today?
Flamo: Yea. As I’m talkin’ to him I see…
Flamo: …they want somebody to intervene and stop him and tell him to go his way and he go his way.
Cobe: You intervened and stopped all that from happening?
Cobe: So how do you feel about what you did?
Flamo: Personally at the time I just felt like these motherfuckers were making noise and I’m upstairs watchin T.V. and tryin’ to get high.
Flamo: And they made a big ass scene in front of the crib. So shit, I tell them to move on or I’m gonna get in there, fuck ‘em both up.
Cobe: Oh Flamo, nonviolence, nonviolence.
Cobe: I’m gonna be waiting right here on the side Rodney. Okay?
Cobe: Oh! What’s that in your hand?
Flamo: Blunt man, it’s a blunt man.
Cobe: Hey man, but Flamo, man, (indistinct) don’t ride like that, you know I don’t ride with no blunts and shit in here man.
Flamo: I know man, that’s why I ain’t tell you, see.
Cobe: Well I’m sayin’ you should have enough respect for me, don’t do that though.
Cobe: Police pull up, everybody in here gonna go to jail.
Flamo: Jail. Let me get rid of the evidence.
Cobe: Hell man, that ain’t cool at all.
Flamo: I wasn’t thinking.
Cobe: You weren’t thinking?
Flamo: I’m trying to get into the mode of doin’ what’s right man.
Flamo (VO): I know I got a little screws missing on the attitude side.
Flamo: I used to want to get into it with the gang bangers and gun slingers.
Flamo: Like, wasn’t none of that worth it. ‘Cause out all the stuff I had to do and done back then, I ain’t got nothin’ to show for. None that I done negative. My friends in jail. My friends, drug addicts or whatever.
Flamo: It seemed like you know how life repeat itself as a cycle.
Flamo: You just be one the persons that tellin’ the story. I’m tryin’ to be one of the ones tellin’ the story. I don’t wanna be the one just livin’ lifestyle on these streets struggling and you know, gotta keep harmin’, doin’ wrong and all this other nonsense.
Flamo: Alright, CeaseFire brother.
Cobe (VO): Today I brought this young man home from prison. He’d been gone like two or three years for armed robbery. I’ve been knowing him and his family for a long time and the only thing he kept saying he wanna see his little brother and his two sisters.
Mikey: Whatsup C? It’s gonna be alright.
Mikey: It’s been a long time.
Mikey: A lot of changes.
Sister: Mmm hmm.
Sister A: Long time.
Sister B: You know, two years and ten months.
Sister B: Before you went to jail, I really like, noticed you as Lil’ Mikey, but now you not Lil’ Mike no more.
Mikey: Hated it, but I ain’t gotta do that no more.
Mikey: I missed your graduation.
Mikey: I ain’t gonna miss yours. And I definitely ain’t gonna miss yours.
Mikey: What about that role model paper Momma was tellin’ me about?
Mikey’s Brother: It’s about you and me.
Mikey’s Brother: About how I miss you. I hope you get to see one sometimes.
Mikey: This the old Mikey that you say was your role model right?
Mikey’s Brother: Mhmm.
Mikey: I don’t want him to be your role model, because he was a different person than he was at home than he was on the block.
Mikey: Hopefully this Mikey will be your role model.
Mikey’s Brother: Uh huh.
Cobe: Your daddy will be coming home soon, won’t he?
Cobe: 2013… How long yo daddy been gone?
Mikey: 17 years.
Cobe: I’m here for you.
Mikey: Yep. I’m here for y’all now.
Mikey: Too long.
Cobe (VO): It’s real tough for people get out of prison man.
Cobe: And lot of times when you get out of prison when you can’t find no job, you get discouraged and like, “Man it’s hard out here man. Should I go back to doin’ the shit I used to do?”
Cobe: He sent me a text message. He got a new phone number?
Andrea (VO): When he got out, he tried really hard. Until he found his job.
Cobe: Aha! Where your boy at Stephon? (to guys farther down the block)
Andrea (VO): Even when they laid him off, he was very active. I’d be like, “Why are you going out there, you’re not getting paid.”
Cobe: That’s good.
Andrea: It’s like, “Because.” (Andrea laughs) “Eventually they’ll get some funding. I have to go though. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.” And he stuck with it and he’s back.
Eddie B (VO): Today’s a big day for, uh, the students at Namaste. Putting up their artwork that we worked on this past couple of months…
Teacher: Yay, he’s here.
Eddie B: You’re like damn, ’bout time he shows up right?
Eddie B: How you been?
Eddie B: How about by the neighborhood?
Student: A kid got shot. Paralyzed from the waist down.
Eddie B: Did you know him?
Adeilene: Yeah. He lived downstairs from us.
Teacher: Really? Oh my gosh.
Teacher (OS): If anything like that happens guys, now…
Teacher: … you know you could get in touch with Eddie.
Eddie B (OS): Especially if you just want to talk, you know.
Teacher: You guys can tell me these things too you know. Yea?
Teacher: No? No? Eddie’s a little bit more equipped to deal with it.
Gray Shirt Student: I’ve got a cousin I’m afraid of.
Gray Shirt Student: Cause his mom’s in the hospital and he started drinking and smoking. And he wears a lot of bad colors. So, yea I just wanted to talk to you about that.
Gray Shirt Student: I think he’s gonna get shot or like get killed because like of all the bad stuff that happened.
Gray Shirt Student: My cousin, I know he has a gun like in his bedroom. Like um, I don’t know, it’s like I’m really afraid for him, because because like I don’t know, he might like like um, I don’t know.
Eddie B: You know, I mean your cousin prolly right now feels kinda hopeless, feels prolly like he’s alone.
Eddie B: Why not do these things, you know.
Eddie B: Nobody cares if I get locked up. Nobody cares if I get shot.
Gray Shirt Student: I think he still can change. Like how I know, like how you told us about how you were in a gang and stuff, and how you changed.
Eddie B: But you know also it takes time. It took time for me. It took a long time for me.
Eddie B: You tell me like where he’s at, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go to his house and I’ll talk to him.
Eddie B: I mean, I wish your cousin was here just to listen to to what you’re saying, because I’m sure he’d prolly be touched and moved by how you feel about it, and how concerned you are about him.
Eddie B: And them guys would love to have you, you know, in their circle.
Eddie B: But when they see you doing right, they see you doing good.
Eddie B: It’s like they look at that and they envy that, because they wish they were in your shoes.
Eddie B: And these guys keep messin’ with you man, just call me bro, call me.
Eddie B: Alright?
Eddie B: Alright cool bro. Alright, man.
La Shawn K Ford: The same thing that we’ve done in Iraq we could do this right here in our own backyard.
Nancy Pender (OS): Politicians say Chicago’s a war zone and they want the military to fight back.
Nancy Pender: Some lawmakers want Governor Quinn to deploy the National Guard…
Nancy Pender (OS): …to Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
Ford: And my conversation with the National Guard was: is it possible for you to come in…
Ford: …and assist the Chicago police department.
SUBTITLE: Man in crowd: Old man Daley said…
Meeting attendee: …shoot to kill in back in ’68.
Meeting Attendee: You endangering the lives of all of us!
Meeting attendee (OS): He comes to the meeting to talk about gangs, guns and drugs…
Meeting attendee (OS): …but there’s no talk of jobs, contracts and opportunities.
Meeting member: We got to defend our own people.
Meeting Member: We gotta solve our own problems.
Eddie (VO): He has CeaseFire and their models to stop the violence…
Eddie: …and in essence, that’s just a band-aid to this big issue that’s going around us.
Eddie (VO): Every single day, man, they asking for jobs. They’re like, “I’m stuck right now, man. Like, I don’t even know what to do. Like I’m feeling the pressures from everywhere, man, I’m pretty much gonna be homeless.”
Eddie: All these things lead to violence.
Dr. Slutkin: Reducing the violence is not a band-aid, it’s actually the essential pathway to a neighborhood being able to develop, for the schools to be able to get better, for the kids to get rid of their stress disorders, for businesses to feel safe enough and well enough to be able to come into these neighborhoods.
Tio (VO): We don’t have enough resources to go around, so the doc really just wants to change the conversation around violence…
Tio: Let me finish, all right? If you can’t feed these young guys, they’re not going to listen to you. Bottom line.
Tio (VO): Look, the African American community and the Latino community have been beaten down so long with poor schools.
Tio (VO): Lack of jobs, hopelessness, despair.
Tio (VO): A lot of people can’t stick with peace if they don’t have a stick that they can hold on to.
Caprysha (OS): Break the window, that’s on you. Break it. Break it. You going to go to jail.
SUBTITLE: Young man outside: You’re going to get fucked up!
Caprysha: I’m not worried. I’m not worried.
Subtitle: Young man: I don’t give a fuck who interviewing you bitch, come step outside.
Caprysha: You ain’t got no life.
Young man: Come outside then.
Young Man: She’s fuckin’ for real.
Caprysha: This is an everyday, this is what they do.
Young man: I’m going to fuck you up!
Young man’s friend: She wanna be one of us, a man.
Caprysha: Me being at this site and being the only female, it’s not working. It’s not working.
Caprysha: Okay this what happened at the site.
Caprysha: He called me a bitch, and I spit on him. And he came to my window and spit on me.
Ameena: They didn’t put their hands on you did they?
Caprysha: They they they wanna fight me. They they tryin’ to fight me when I come back to the site. But I think I’mma just go…
Ameena: I’ll call the house right now.
SUBTITLE: Devon: Miss Ameena.
Ameena: Yes sir.
SUBTITLE: Devon: I’m not going to touch her.
Ameena: You promise me?
SUBTITLE: Devon: Just know that…
SUBTITLE: Devon: if she continues to go about this the wrong way…
SUBTITLE: Devon: shit is not gonna look better, shit is gonna get ugly.
Caprysha: Well let me go ahead and call my little people from the Greens and you know, we could go ahead and do this, because I’m not worried.
Ameena: Caprysha shut up.
Caprysha: He not finna scare me.
Caprysha: And you know, I’m finna hang up, ’cause I’m gonna hang up this phone.
Caprysha: I’m finna hang up.
Ameena: He’s not gonna be good until I see you. I’m gonna come out there.
Caprysha: I’m not, I’m not, you know I’m actually gonna fight them without no problem.
Ameena: But why?
Ameena: Why you gonna risk bustin’, gettin’ cut all of that, scratched and all of that. Why? You too pretty for that.
Ameena: My baby. You gotta be tired. You gotta be tired of that fightin’.
Caprysha: They 18 and 19, I ain’t.
Ameena: But you can’t spit on nobody.
Ameena: That can start a war.
Caprysha: That’s why I be tellin’…
Ameena: Did you know that?
Caprysha: That’s why I gonna be tellin’ people I know you.
Ameena: But can’t be spittin’ on nobody though. So what, knowin’ me or not. Them knowin that you know me, that don’t, it’s your actions. You understand what I’m sayin? For real mommy, do you for real?
Ameena (VO): Caprysha has been through hell and back.
Ameena (VO): It’s tough. Trying to process emotions about not having a mom and dad around.
Ameena (VO): I have a vision in my head of my dad on this…
Ameena (VO): …white horse riding through 79th street, coming back for me.
Ameena (VO): Me gettin’ shot in the game was God tellin’ me, you got to make your own choices. My family knew exactly…
Ameena: … who did it, and I got a phone call from my dad while I was in the hospital, tellin’ me how sorry he was, he apologized. It’s gonna be some answers for it. And why?
Ameena: Why dad? Leave that boy alone.
Ameena (VO): That was the last encounter that I had with the game. And as I look back, that was my first mediation.
Cobe (OS): How’s that thing been doing with you, job searchin’, everything else?
Mikey (OS): It’s been hard. I ain’t found no job yet.
Mikey: But I ain’t gonna give up.
Cobe (VO): I been workin’ with little Mikey for a while.
Cobe (VO): Even while he was in prison, he kept stressin’ he wanted to apologize to them people he robbed at the barber shop.
SUBTITLE: Mikey: It was a war thing. We did it to get more guns.
Cobe: We don’t know how this might turn out. We goin’ to talk to them.
Mikey: If they accept it or not, it’s still like…
Mikey (OS): I know I made a mistake.
Mikey: I’m askin’ for y’all forgiveness.
Cobe: You kinda nervous going here?
Mikey: I think I’m gonna start feelin’ it when I get in the shop.
Mikey (VO): How you all doing? I understand that…
Mikey: … on August 21, 2007, that me and two other fellas came in here and stuck the place up.
Mikey (OS): I know I’m deeply, I’m deeply sorry.
Mikey (OS): I know I made a mistake. I was fifteen.
Mikey (OS): And I was followin’ the crowd, but now I’m older. I’m more mature than I was. And I wanted to let y’all know that I was sorry for what I did on my behalf. I don’t know how these two other brothers feel about themselves. But I know I made a complete 360 my, doin’ my uh, almost three years of being incarcerated.
Woman in Purple: Well, with me, my my daughter was in here and my baby. And you just don’t know the impact that you put on my life. Holdin’ us with guns. I’m nervous right now even meetin’ you. And I thank God that you have changed your life, but you just don’t know what that have did to me and my kids. I deal with this every day.
Woman in Purple: Every day of my life. Every day. You came in here, and you asked for a haircut. You left back out, you came back in.
Woman in Purple: And you did this to my kids. And Jeremy held my baby with a gun up to his head. And then felt on my daughter with a gun.
Woman In Purple: And you told my co-worker Rhonda that you were goin’ to kill her, because she was callin’ the police.
Woman In Purple: My life was in your hands. I didn’t know if you was gonna kill me. My daughter kept sayin, mama we gonna die.
Woman in Purple: And I hold my babies and when you want to tell your kids, when you want to protect your kids and you can’t at that moment.
Woman In Purple: Y’all put up seven people in the little bathroom. We didn’t even know what was gonna happen to us.
Woman in Purple: And right now to this day he never talk about that robbery. That was three years ago, and he just made 13.
Woman in Purple (OS): He ain’t never said nothin’. I don’t know what’s on his mind, but I just prayin’ to ask God don’t let him, hold that in.
Woman in Purple: But I’m just glad that you are a changed man.
Woman in Purple: You look better. But you know what?
Woman in Purple: I’m I’m okay, I’m a better person now. And I hope that you know, you be a better man. That’s all I’m saying.
Woman in Purple: And I hope that you are sincere.
Woman in Purple: And that this man right here. I mean he helpin’ you and he makin’ you a better man. You could’ve been dead and gone, but God spared your life.
Man: This the father right here? I would like to see him hug him.
Man: Cause you don’t owe him nothin’, but you teachin’ him. And imagine what he thinkin’ about.
Man: So it take a lot of gut to walk back on the surfaces that you did dirt on.
Man: So many cats we shake hands with and they’re the same guys that broke in our house we just don’t know it.
Man: Same ones raped our sisters, our mothers, our daughters.
Man (OS): And we know these young guys today at his age, they don’t come back.
Man: The fact that today you released somethin’ in somebody and in yourself, you got to run with that.
Mikey: Yes sir.
Mikey: It was hard. Real hard.
Mikey: Like to just relive what she went through just in her, I mean in my eyes. But she went through it.
Cobe: Yea. When you first step in, you know, did you remember them?
Mikey: Mm mm. (negative)
Cobe (OS): You didn’t remember them?
Mikey: Not at all.
Florist: That’ll be 8.25.
Eddie B: Alright.
Eddie B (VO): Today,16 years ago…
Eddie: These are nice.
Eddie B: …I took someone’s life pretty much. Man so…
Eddie B: Hello. Hi. I’m Eddie.
Eddie B (VO): …you know on this date in honor of the victim in my case, I try to do as many good deeds as I can. I try to reach out to especially strangers.
SUBTITLE: Mother: Look, there he is. Six years and I still wear the picture. (TRANSLATION)
Eddie B (VO): I’ve thought of, hopefully one day, going to my victim’s family.
Eddie B (VO): And really just expressing to them how deeply sorry I am.
Eddie B (VO): And whether or not they accept my apology.
Eddie B (VO): Which I don’t think they will, I really just want to do this…
Eddie B (VO): …It’s just that right now. I don’t think it’s still right.
Eddie B (VO): The last stop of today, we’re going to the cemetery to visit the family of Miguel, the kid who was shot and killed a few weeks ago.
Eddie B: Hello. How are you doing? Doin’ alright?
Eddie B (VO): I spoke to Vanessa, his sister, about some of the issues that are going in her home right now.
Eddie: Hi, Eddie.
Eddie B (VO): Miguel, he got shot in the head. Vanessa was actually there when this happened. He pretty much died in her arms.
Eddie B (VO): I think that Vanessa does feel that what happened to her brother was her fault.
Eddie B (VO): But she can’t blame herself because somebody else was ignorant, had a gun, and shot her brother.
SUBTITLE: Eddie B: He also liked art? (TRANSLATION)
SUBTITLE: Miguel’s mother: Yes, he liked it a lot and was always drawing and saying to me – (TRANSLATION)
SUBTITLE: Miguel’s mother: “Can I paint a wall in our house?” I said, “Miguel, my angel, that’s not allowed.” (TRANSLATION)
SUBTITLE: Eddie B: And do you come here almost every week? (TRANSLATION)
SUBTITLE: Miguel’s mother: Every day. (TRANSLATION)
Eddie B: Todo las dias.
SUBTITLE: Miguel’s Mother: Everyday. (TRANSLATION)
Eddie B (VO): Man that lady goes there every single day.
Eddie B: That’s fucked up, man.
Eddie: So to me on this day, same day that the victim in my case died. This is it man. This is the end result.
Eddie B: You took a life now you’re paying with your life. It’s like, you dumbass.
Fernando: When he finally did get locked away, in my mind, in my mind I was like, nah this isn’t happening.
Alex (VO): My parents were devastated.
Alex: I mean, my mom she needed to sell the house here we had in Chicago to pay for the lawyer fees, and -
Fernando: It was like a 180, you know.
Fernando: My dad was already an alcoholic. He would get drunk, and I – he expressed, you know, his sorrow.
Eddie’s Mother: (VO) (TRANSLATION) (SUBTITLE) It’s the whole family.
Eddie’s mother: (VO) (SUBTITLE) And I hope he does well so that he can live his life … like anybody else.
Eddie’s mother: A person who knows how to fight and live with dignity.
Small Child: No!
Cobe (VO): Lil Mikey, he showed some initiative on getting his own job.
Cobe (VO): His first real job.
Woman: Cause if you don’t get that grass up first, what’s it gonna do is come right through this paper.
Woman (OS): So there’s a, there’s only one way to do this is to…
Woman: …do it the right way so we don’t have to re-do it. Okay?
Woman: We got an understanding. Okay. Thank you.
Boy: It don’t come up.
Mikey: She the boss.
Mikey: Bein’ on the block, you ain’t gotta do this to make money.
Mikey (OS): Bein’ with my guys all day.
Mikey: Doin’ what I wanna do when I wanna do it and how I want to do it. But…
Mikey (OS): …as long as I’m keepin’ busy…
Mikey: I’m gonna be good.
Mikey: And as you can tell, this is keepin’ me busy.
Boy: This is tiring.
Mikey: But I can’t complain. Life good right now, for me.
Mikey: I got a job. I got a job. All I used to hear, you’re a Class X felon. Can’t do nothin’. I’m doin’ somethin’.
Mikey: You gonna sleep good?
Trevon: In the cot.
Mikey: … Cuvelle, you don’t got this kinda cover do you? That’s yours right there.
Mikey: I got these.
Mikey: Here you go Ja’on.
Mikey walks through a dark day care center.
SUBTITLES: Vanessa: When people text me, like they try to tell me…
Vanessa: “…Oh we just wanna know what’s the truth. Like what really happened to your brother.”
Vanessa: They’re just tryin’ seem like they care. But they don’t.
Kathryn: The way we kinda spoke about it is like Vanessa will like catch ‘em off guard. You would say something like, “I know you’re asking cause you really care about me,”–which they don’t–”I’m doing great. Thanks for asking.” And then…
Vanessa: Walk away.
Eddie B: That’s good.
Eddie B: That’s a good one.
Kathryn: She’s even doing things in his honor like the art group right?
Kathryn: What did he always want to paint?
Vanessa: He wanted to paint the Virgin Mary, but he never got the chance to do it.
Eddie B: So, who’s all that down there?
Vanessa: My sister, and me, my mom, and my dad.
Eddie B: That’s your brother up top?
Eddie B: You gonna put it up in your room?
Vanessa: No, his room.
Eddie B (VO): Her grades’ declining. I’m just wondering, like, if it has to do with her brother. She got into a fight, and she was suspended. This person made a comment, she was already enraged, and that was probably her boiling point. That was it.
Eddie B (VO): One day you might have all the strength you think you have, and you think, “You know what? I could go continue on with my life.”
Eddie B: You guys are going to the cemetery still?
Eddie B: How often are you guys going now?
Vanessa: Mmm, like try to go like three days a week.
Eddie B (VO): But then the next day…
Eddie B (VO): …your emotions are triggered by something, and it kind of puts them back to square one.
Eddie B (VO): So, I don’t think people ever get over it.
Child: I did it.
Man’s Voice (OS): So what else are we doing to make you beautiful today?
Caprysha: I don’t know. I was just goin’ with the flow.
Caprysha: I start school tomorrow.
Off camera male: Excellent. And this year’s goal is what?
Caprysha: To graduate…
Off camera male: I got you.
Caprysha: …and get my high school diploma.
Ameena (VO): She was sayin’ that tomorrow’s the first day of school and I’m so excited and I was excited for her. She’s goin’ with a fresh hair-do.
Ameena: I went today and found out school started three weeks ago.
Caprysha: And I did go to school.
Ameena: You went to school when you got the fuck ready to. You didn’t go up there when it was time for them to go in.
Caprysha: Actually yes I did, Miss Ameena, you don’t know that. You you don’t know that.
Ameena: Caprysha your counselor said you got there when you got there.
Caprysha: No, it I got there at 8:55 before everybody.
Ameena: You didn’t fight hard enough for you to get up in that school and do what you need to do.
Caprysha: I ain’t, I ain’t gotta say nothin’.
Ameena: Caprysha don’t nobody have to kiss your ass for you to do what you need to do for you.
Caprysha: I’m still gonna be the same person at the end of the day.
Ameena: At the end of the day doin’ what?
Caprysha: Gettin’ my life together takes time.
Ameena: Time for what?
Ameena: You did two years out of your life. Wasn’t that enough time for you to get your life together?
Ameena: What you do is you manipulate, you do this and you do that and then you so ashamed and afraid that when I ask you to be honest with me, you can’t.
Ameena: Do you wanna be loved? Absolutely. Do you deserve to be loved?
Ameena: First thing you gotta love you.
Caprysha: Oh, I love myself.
Ameena: Caprysha, Caprysha.
Ameena: When I stopped…
Ameena: … allowin’ the circumstances to dictate my life.
Ameena (OS): When I let that “fuck everybody” go, then I got real honest with my feelings, I’m scared, I’m hurtin’. It’s okay though.
Caprysha: Well I’m not like you to open up so easy. Sorry…
Ameena: I don’t open up so easy.
Ameena: I don’t open up so easy. I open up as needed for me, because I wanna get better and continue to stay healthy.
Ameena: Why you choose not to?
Caprysha: Cause I like my life how it is now.
Ameena: You like your life doin’ what?
Ameena: Aight. Well I can’t aid and abed shit. I flush shit.
Caprysha: You think everything’s bullshit. You know what, you…
Ameena: You just said it.
Caprysha: …you can keep thinkin’ everything’s bullshit though, real talk.
Ameena (OS): You know, I remember being 19 and bein’ a scared girl like that.
Ameena: You know me bein’ out there and doin’ a lot of things that I did, I thought that I really was gettin’ back at the person that I thought that should come and get me. And tell me you ain’t gotta live like that.
Ameena: Man if I could go back…
Ameena: …and make that pain go away for me today. If I could do that I would do that in a heartbeat. And that’s so, so painful for me for her. Because she’s gonna be my age some day. And it’s gonna be a whole bunch of regrets.
Ameena: I don’t even know why I’m doin’ this.
Ameena: Now sittin’ here talkin’ to you there was 15 times that I just wanted to get up and walk away from you. But I didn’t and I couldn’t…
Ameena (VO): I’m gonna be added on to the people that fucked her around. I’m not gonna call her again.
Ameena (VO): You know. I’m gonna be available for her at my availability.
Cobe: Oh, look at my man! Huh look at my main man! Flamo last time I saw you, you didn’t have no uniform on. You had other things on your mind. Look at you man. You got your whole outfit.
Flamo: How you doin’?
Cobe: How you feel man?
Flamo: I’m alright.
Cobe: But shit you look like you doin’ great.
Flamo: Tryin’ to do stuff positive and seein’ how it workin’. And I ain’t been to jail, I ain’t been arguin’ and fightin’. I ain’t been havin’ to shoot nobody.
Cobe: Man I just so happy for you. I promise you boy, I’m so happy for you man.
Flamo: I hope you do feel good about yourself. Cuz, to keep it real with you man, I had like three, four people lined up.
Flamo: And I was really plottin’ on how to get them. But you was just in my ear, you know what I’m sayin’?
Flamo: You constantly in my ear. You buggin’ me for a minute.
Flamo: You know what I’m sayin’?
Cobe (laughing): Like a bug?
Flamo: You know how that be like I’m sleepin’, the fly keep landin’ on you, you know what I’m sayin? You’s buggin’ me ’til eventually I had to get up and attend to that fly.
Cobe: Flamo! I’ma get up with you.
SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
NEXT ON FRONTLINERape in the FieldsEncore PresentationMarch 18th
FRONTLINE Watch FRONTLINE About FRONTLINE Contact FRONTLINE
FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation.
Web Site Copyright ©1995-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.