Building Safer Communities

Building Safer Communities

Healthy relationships are foundational for safer communities. In SWOP’s work to create safer communities, outreach workers build relationships with community members. Through these relationships, they work to interrupt violence and encourage other ways of solving conflicts. This work is reducing the number of shootings in the neighborhood. Outreach workers also connect people with resources including jobs, education, legal aid, and behavioral health.

Building safer communities means recognizing how structural violence and trauma cause harm and how relational healing, restorative justice, and caring for one another can create safety.

On the podcast 63rd Soundwaves (Episode 16), Rafi Peterson described the role of trauma and the need for healing that he sees in his work. Rafi said: 

“How do we change the mind? It has to be a complete paradigm shift. But you have to give the people the tools to understand first of all, he’s traumatized. That’s why he’s trying to traumatize you now. And you have to understand your traumatization is being to respond in like, like him. And that’s not normal. So it’s a learning a societal new normal.”

To do this work, SWOP partners with Communities Partnering 4 Peace. Workers are also being trained in the Peace Academy where expert peacemakers are sharing their wisdom and tools with one another. The program is built from relational and experiential knowledge.

To learn more, contact Rafi Peterson at rpeterson@swopchicago.org.