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Daughter of Mob Boss “Interrupts” the Streets of Chicago to Save Youth from Violence

By Jenny Triplett – Prisonworld Magazine

Ameena Fort-Matthews is a violence interrupter for CeaseFire, a not-for profit program in Chicago that views violence as a disease that spreads throughout the community and needs to be “interrupted” to stop the cycle.No stranger to the streets, Fort-Matthews grew up in Chicago, and is the daughter of infamous Chicago mob boss Jeff Fort. She said by the time she was a teenager, she was hustling with a gang of guys.

“There’s guys and girls, and I was one of them, that felt like in order to protect your neighborhood it’s just like, hell, we’re in Afghanistan and our streets is a war zone and that we got to protect it,” she said. “That’s what these young guys and girls are feeling…that they are protecting whatever it is at they are protecting.”

CeaseFire has been operating in Chicago for 15 years. With the assistance of former gang members and street hustlers like Fort-Matthews, the group aims to stop the spread of gun violence using mediation techniques. Their work was highlighted in the documentary The Interrupters, which aired in Omaha last summer. It showed them stepping in to some dangerous situations – talking down gang members and working with them to prevent retaliations.

“What I’m trying to get them to understand is that you don’t have to kill anybody to resolve a conflict and to get them to change their mindset on how they think about violence,” she said.

CLICK HERE for more information on The Interrupters

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One Response to Daughter of Mob Boss “Interrupts” the Streets of Chicago to Save Youth from Violence

  1. BThomp

    March 16, 2012 at 1:47 am

    As a retired Soldier who has been to combat and a native Chicagoan I have to tell you that the comparison of what the military does in a combat zone to street thugs is insulting.
    Protecting your street from other drug dealers and criminals while preying on the innocent is hardly what I did while deployed. No one from outside the hood comes in creating havoc and spreading violence. I applaud what the “Interruptrrs” are doing but do yourself a favor and don’t compare these idiots on the corner to the Soldiers that do the real thing for the right reason.

    And just so you know, I grew up in Englewood.