From Greg Marshburn, Safe Streets Baltimore

Gun violence is personal to me and my community. I have been shot nine times. I have lain on the ground with life running out of me.

This may be hard to read. It was harder to live.

In my past, all I knew was violence and crime. Now I work on the frontlines of my neighborhood as a violence interrupter in Baltimore, MD. I am putting myself directly in the middle of conflict to stop the spread of violence.

I have seen this approach work. I have witnessed harm prevented, lives changed, and violence mediated by community members without the use of guns or the involvement of a militarized police force. A study by Johns Hopkins University found that my organization, Safe Streets Baltimore, successfully lowered homicides and nonfatal shootings by as much as 32% at some of our sites from 2007-2022.

Community violence interrupter programs are working to break cycles of grief and loss in cities across this nation. With just a small investment from Congress, we can do more.

I want my community to be a place where people can live without the constant threat of gun violence. This is what motivates me in my role as a violence interrupter. It is my hope that together we can take the peacebuilding approaches being employed by groups like mine and expand them to more places throughout the nation.

Please join me in urging Congress to make our communities safer by dedicating federal funding to violence interruption programs.

Greg Marshburn