During public comment at the 3/15/22 Salisbury City Council meeting, Mary Walker encouraged support for a Cure Violence assessment and reminded council that “trained interrupters defuse and interrupt violence that could previously have proved fatal.” 

My comments refer to Item #12, Council to receive a presentation from the Gate City Foundation regarding the Cure Violence initiative, on tonight’s agenda regarding the presentation about the Cure Violence model. 

We just passed the 2 year anniversary of the lock down created as a result of the public health emergency caused by Covid 19. Since March 2020 elected officials across the country have emphasized the need for three things to stop the spread of the virus – isolating, wearing masks and social distancing. So many lives were cut short by this epidemic and there are people participating and listening to this meeting tonight who have suffered themselves or experienced great loss. After the first 12 months of lockdown, vaccinations became available and now in 2022, although the virus is not under control worldwide, at least locally many have changed the way they interact socially for the good of the community and the public health crisis is becoming less of a threat.

Compare that to the public health crisis caused by gun violence on the streets of Salisbury. How do we stop this epidemic of violence which spreads like a virus or disease? It also causes sudden loss of life, leaving family members, which include people listening and participating tonight, grieving and in unimaginable pain. If other public health issues, or in this case, a public health emergency, can be dealt with successfully, then an assessment of the success of the Cure Violence model for our city would be a positive investment for all city residents and taxpayers.

The Cure Violence model’s approach to reducing violence is the same as reducing the epidemic spread of infectious diseases. The Cure model applies three proven strategies to stop violence. Citizens are trained to work in their own neighborhoods to interrupt and defuse violent situations; these interrupters continue to monitor cases to avoid any retaliation and they reinforce new social norms for a healthy community.

The Cure Violence Global Report “The Evidence of Effectiveness,” which is available on line, states that the long lasting harm to communities exposed to gun violence runs deep. Its ripple effects can destabilize the community.

Investing in the Cure Violence model contributes to positive health outcomes which include improvements to the welfare of children and positive mental, physical and educational outcomes.

Dr. King spoke of a ‘Beloved Community.’ “One where conflicts end not in violence, but rather in peaceful reconciliation.” Living by those values, trained Interrupters defuse and interrupt violence that could previously have proved fatal.

I ask that Council consider funding an initial assessment by Cure Violence.

Let’s make the Cure contagious.

Mary Walker