Reviving Old-Fashioned Non-Violence Morals to tackle urban gun violence
By Milton Lawrence
In the face of escalating gun violence in urban communities, it’s high time we revisited an age-old, yet ever-relevant solution: non-violence morals and values. In our quest to stem the tide of deadly gun violence, we must recognize the urgent need to instill these principles in young adults through conflict resolution training. This mission cannot be accomplished by schools alone; parents, teachers, community members, and local officials must also participate. By embracing and practicing non-violent conflict resolution techniques, we can pave the way for safer, more harmonious urban environments.
The stark reality is that urban communities across the United States continue to grapple with gun violence, which has devastating consequences for our youth and communities at large. While there are no easy answers, history has shown us that non-violence principles can lead to profound change.
One exemplary program that has made a significant impact is the “Cure Violence” initiative. Originating in Chicago, this program treats violence as a contagious disease, intervening to interrupt potential conflicts and offering support to individuals at risk of participating in violence. Their “violence interrupters” are often individuals who have personal experience with violence, and they use their credibility and influence to mediate disputes non-violently. Research has demonstrated a substantial reduction in shootings in neighborhoods where this program operates.
Another successful model is the “Peacemakers Program” in New York City. This program trains community members, including young adults, to resolve conflicts within their neighborhoods. By empowering individuals with conflict resolution skills and non-violent communication techniques, this program has led to a decrease in violence and an increase in community cohesion.
These programs share a common thread: they emphasize the importance of community involvement, education, and mentorship. They recognize that violence is not an inherent trait but a learned behavior that can be unlearned through proper guidance and support.
However, it’s essential to remember that such initiatives are most effective when they’re not isolated efforts but part of a broader strategy. Parents, teachers, community leaders, and local officials play pivotal roles in reinforcing these values.
Schools can incorporate non-violence and conflict resolution into their curriculum, teaching students about empathy, active listening, and peaceful negotiation. Organizations like the “Peaceful Schools Program” have already begun implementing such strategies in various school districts, successfully reducing violence and bullying.
Parents should be encouraged to participate in workshops that equip them with the tools to foster non-violence at home. Programs like the “Parent-Child Interaction Therapy” can help parents build healthier relationships with their children, reducing the likelihood of aggressive behavior.
Teachers, community leaders, and local officials should receive training on conflict resolution techniques and restorative justice practices. Schools that have adopted restorative justice have seen a significant reduction in suspensions and expulsions, which can often exacerbate the cycle of violence.
Addressing urban gun violence requires a multi-pronged approach, and non-violence morals and values must be a central pillar of this strategy. Programs like Cure Violence and the Peacemakers Program have shown that it’s possible to reduce violence by investing in conflict resolution and community engagement. However, to truly make a difference, we need to start early by instilling these values in our young people through education and involving parents, teachers, and community members in the process. Only by reviving these old-fashioned, yet enduring, principles can we hope to build safer and more peaceful urban communities for the future.