24 Hours of Peace Addresses Gang Violence as Public Health Issue

By Lora Neng
August 27, 2012

Newark City Councilman Ras Baraka and the Hip-Hop community of Brick City came together for “24 Hours of Peace, Occupy Clinton Avenue” last Friday to memorialize last year’s death of twelve people in a 24-hour period. Organizers hoped that the block party-style outdoor gathering around the arts would be an example of how creating togetherness may curb violence. But more importantly for the long haul, they want to engage people’s perceptions into recognizing urban violence, and especially gang conflict, as a Public Health issue.

Making an urgent call to treat violence as an epidemic not only underscores that casualties are suffered in far greater numbers by victims maimed rather than ki*led in outbreaks, but also proffers the argument the “disease” is preventable. And with the designation of gang violence as a public health issue, local social programs can apply for CDC grants to combat the problem, a tactic that is already in force in Salinas and Chicago’s CeaseFire pilot program.

During the 24-hour “Time Out,” featured performers, such as the respected tap dancer Savion Glover and Hakim Green, encouraged purveyors of Hip-Hop culture to consider the images they project into the media and their communities.

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