Baltimore's Violence Interrupters: Meet Five On The Front Lines | WYPR

Baltimore's Violence Interrupters: Meet Five On The Front Lines

Aug 10, 2020

The Baltimore Ceasefire 365 logo for its 3rd anniversary Ceasefire Weekend.
Credit Baltimore Ceasefire 365

More than 400 people in Baltimore City have died of illness related to Coronavirus.  More than 200 others have been victims of homicide.  

Ninety percent of those homicides are committed with guns.  While there have been slightly fewer non-fatal shootings this year than last, nearly 400 people have been shot so far this year.   Today, we’re going to talk with five people who’ve made it their life’s work to help the people at the epicenter of the epidemic of gun violence.
 

Later this hour we’ll meet two violence interrupters with the city's Safe Streets program, and we’ll touch base with a co-founder of Baltimore Ceasefire 365.  

"JT" Timpson, Roca's director of Safety and Community Partnership, with Kurt Palermo, director of Roca Baltimore.
Credit Roca Baltimore

But first, Tom welcomes two representatives of Roca Baltimore, which launched in July of 2018 to engage with the young men most likely to be caught up in gun violence as both perpetrators and victims.  Joining Tom by Zoom are  Kurt Palermo, the director of Roca Baltimore, and James “JT” Timpson,  Roca's director of Community Partnerships and Safety. People seeking more information about Roca Baltimore or ways they can lend a hand, are encouraged to email:  Baltimore@rocainc.com.

Safe Street's Gardnel Carter and Dante Barksdale.
Credit Safe Streets Baltimore

Just as Roca Baltimore has been intervening with relentless outreach over the past 18 months,  the City-run Safe Streets Baltimore program has spent the past 13 years mediating conflicts and connecting at-risk people to resources that can help them avoid violence in the future.    Joining Tom next by Zoom is Dante Barksdale, Safe Streets’ Outreach Coordinator and the author, with Grace Kearney, of a memoir, Growing Up Barksdale: A True Baltimore Storyalso joining Tom in this segment is Gardnel Carter, Safe Street's Community Liaison Officer. 

Then, Tom welcomes another of the city's front-line champions of violence reduction. Letrice Gant is one of the co-founders and co-leaders, with Erricka Bridgeford, of Baltimore Ceasefire 365, a grass-roots end-violence movement that uses the moral strength of the community to dissuade potential perpetrators of gun violence, and to heal the victims of violence. 

Baltimore Ceasefire co-leaders Erricka Bridgeford (l.) and Letrice Gant
Credit Sloane Brown/Baltimore Snap

The Baltimore Ceasefire movement marked its third anniversary during the August 7-9 Ceasefire Weekend just past.  For more information about Baltimore Ceasefire 365 and getting involved in its year-round events, check out their homepage at baltimoreceasefire.org.