Community leaders learn new methods to help combat rising violence

NOW: Community leaders learn new methods to help combat rising violence

SOUTH BEND, Ind.,--- Community leaders came together this week to find ways to combat the rise of violence just days after a missing Michiana mother was found dead after a weeklong search for her and her infant son.

The main message in the violence prevention training was recognizing violence as a disease.

“A lot of us are taught that violence is the way to solve problems. We don’t start off that way but when you’re infected you develop that mindset and start carrying guns and all those kinds of things. You basically develop what I would call a disease or infected mindset,” said Dr. Joseph Marshall the founder and executive director, of the non-profit Alive & Free.

Dr. Marshall came all the way from California, to hold a three-day violence prevention training session here in South Bend.

It’s an effort to help local community leaders understand why people commit violence and help stop it.

“This has to be the movement. For us what’s more important is to create an environment that’s about being alive and that’s part of the movement and in order to do that we have to train folks that’s dealing with it on the ground,” said Maurice Scott the Director of Community Initiatives for the city of South Bend.

The training comes just two days after 27-year-old Alexis Morales was found dead in her SUV with her infant son and after another 28-year-old man was shot and killed in South Bend on Monday in a separate incident.

Community leaders have now come together to try and spark change.

“Even though we get this information we learn about the disease it’s risk factors, how it spreads, we can’t stop the violence alone,” said Romona Bethany, a manager with the Office of Violence Prevention for Community Initiatives

“Especially now and in this season how we’ve experienced so much violence and so many tragedies in the last few weeks. This has been great information that we can take back to other council members and to the community,” added First District Councilman Pastor Canneth Lee who’s also the director with Group Violence Intervention.

The training engaged leaders from all walks of life across the city in hopes of connecting with everyone especially young people.

“To give back that love and that knowledge you have that’s the greatest mission that you can accomplish. It’s one thing to pull yourself up but if you’re not pulling up others with you, then you’ve kind of failed,” explained Amani Hardrict, with Violence Prevention Coordinator with the Office of Community Initiatives

 The training was put on by the city’s Community Initiatives South Bend Alive Program that helps support violence prevention groups.

Leaders told ABC57 they're ready to put the tools they've learned into action immediately.

If you’d like to learn more click here.

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