John Willis knows Jackson. He’s lived here his entire life, and he’s served this community, and mentored teenagers for years. Now John’s the leader of the new ‘Cure Violence Program’. The program is aimed at using interrupters to stop the violence before it happens.
“What you want to do is identify those that are most at risk. Get some experts some people that are familiar with those communities, get their opinions, get their input, and make some changes within that community,” said Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator for the City of Jackson, John Willis.
Willis recently went to Chicago to see the program up close, and to see how it works. John, and his team left inspired.
“The fact that in some places they are as high as 70 percent reduction in gun violence. That is the thing that stood out to me the most. The second thing would be the community engagement. The community engagement piece in that you are actually getting the community involved, and you are actually getting the community engaged in stopping the gun violence,” said Willis.
The city also learned that it’s important to get the right people on the team, and to make sure everyone is on the same page. Many of those working in Chicago were former felons themselves, but they wanted to do what was right to make their community safer.
“People that are interested in the community, and that are familiar with the community, and that they are willing to put in the work to do the right thing,” said Willis.
The city says they are actively screening applicants. To apply to be an interrupter you can visit the site below.