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CeaseFire and "The Interrupters" Focus of Program at Unity Temple

Discussion about its work and the award-winning documentary could help start a community conversation about stemming violence.

The work of a noted group that focuses on violence prevention and the award-winning documentary that highlights its efforts will be a highlight of Monday's annual meeting of the Community of Congregations.

Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire IL and some of the young people whose experiences were shown in "The Interrupters" will be on a program that begins at 7:30 p.m. at , 875 Lake St., Oak Park. The program is free; donations are accepted.

Refreshments and the business meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at a cost of $15.

The program will touch on how violence is lived out in the communities and how CeaseFire has worked for more than a decade to diffuse community tensions. Launched in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago in 2000, CeaseFire uses a varied approach to intervene in crises, mediate disputes between individuals and intercede on group disputes to diffuse tensions.

“The Interrupters” tells the stories of three young people who went from work to protect the communities from the stem the violence they once used in their neighborhoods. The is directed by Steve James, who made the noted film “Hoop Dreams” and produced by James and Alex Kotlowitz, a well-known writer. Slate Magazine called the film “the most necessary film of the year.”

The discussion also will focus on the film, some of which will be shown Monday evening. The entire documentary is scheduled to be aired Feb. 14 as part of the PBS series Frontline.

Monday’s event could become the start of a community conversation on how violence can be averted, said The Rev. Shawn Schreiner, president of the Community of Congregations and rector at . “We hope we can learn how to curb violence and put those ideas into action,” she said.  

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