Interrupting Violence! Conversations with Ameena Matthews

Ameena Matthews is a key player in the “violence interrupters” initiative at the forefront of anti-violence activism in the Chicagoland area.  Matthews, the daughter of former Chicago gang leader Jeff Fort, has crafted her own approach and methodology for addressing issues of violence—which are informed by a dynamic understanding of gender relations and identities.


The Interrupters (2011)

Hoff Theatre, Stamp Student Union

Monday, February 25, 5:30-7:30pm

In 2011, Kartemquin Films produced a documentary, The Interrupters, which distills the inner-workings of the “violence interrupters” during what was the most violent epoch in Chicagoland history. Violence Interrupters are community advocates who intervene in disputes and disagreements before they become violent.  Ceasefire, an anti-violence organization started in Chicago in 1995, began to use violence interrupters in 2004.  This film documents the careful methods of these community advocates as they work under dangerous conditions to end violence in their community.  While focused on Chicago, the film serves as a great tool to discuss the intersections of race, gender, and violence, the complexities of urban violence, and how policy and community politics conflict/coalesce.


“Interrupting Violence: A Critical Dialogue”

Tuesday, February 26, 5:30pm

Howard Zinn Room, Busboys & Poet, 5331 Baltimore Ave, Hyattsville, MD 20781


This panel discussion will explore topics pertaining to gender and violence. First, showing
excerpts from the documentary, “The Interrupters”—a film which explores and vividly
captures how three change agents (one who will be featured on the panel, Ameena
Matthews) are using innovative techniques to help curb violence on Chicago streets. In addition to
the film showing, there will be a rich conversation amongst community activists, authors, and
scholars addressing violence within our communities, potential solutions, and the role of gender in
the representation and reproduction of violence.


This event is presented by the Department of Women’s Studies, and co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities; the Department of American Studies; Department of English; the African American Studies Department; the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity; the Curriculum Transformation Project; and the Pepsi Corporation.

A promotional flyer for this event can be found here.