Gang Violence: The Prevention & The Cure

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How does racism in America impact how children of color envision their futures? How can we help kids succeed despite this racism? Two impactful guests tell us about their efforts to empower, guide and support kids in their communities. MacArthur “Genius Award” winner and nonprofit founder Joe Marshall and Oakland chef Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen, Food Network) discuss racism with Share Our Strength founder and CEO Billy Shore on this episode of Add Passion and Stir. “Being black in America is you start in this hole,” says Marshall, “and you’re continually climbing out of this hole.” Chef Holland agrees, “What I find most painful about racism is when people have low expectations of you. They don’t expect you to be intelligent or ambitious or resourceful… That judgement is a big hurdle.”

Yet both of these community activists are fighting racism and ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations.’ In 1987, Marshall started the Omega Boys Club, which is now a nationally recognized youth development and violence prevention organization in San Francisco. The Alive & Free violence prevention program aims to keep kids just that: safe and out of prison. “A lot of times [kids] are just doing stuff to survive, except they don’t really learn how to survive – they learn how to die or go to prison,” he says. Holland makes an impact by hiring and nurturing staff from the low-income neighborhood near her restaurant, and being a role model for these young people. “There are not many models out there for them, particularly in my profession. I’m trying to create opportunities… so they can see, ‘she can do it and she looks like me.’”

Listen to hear how these leaders are helping kids refuse to fail when the system is stacked against them. How are you doing your part?

Resources and Mentions:

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Alive & Free

Alive & Free (the violence prevention program of the Omega Boys Club) works to transform the lives of young people by treating violence like a disease. The Prescription works to change beliefs, attitudes, values and actions that promote violence. It identifies the symptomatic thoughts and behaviors that put young people at risk for violence, addresses the underlying feelings and emotions that contribute to violent behavior and introduces a new mindset that promotes positive lifestyle choices. Young people who have learned the Alive & Free Prescription have a new set of life skills to make choices that help them go to college, succeed in life, and give back to their communities

Brown Sugar Kitchen

New style, down home soul food, community and a welcoming vibe in sweet West Oakland.

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