“As a violence interrupter, I’m trained to detect, mediate and interrupt conflict for individuals at high risk of violence. Then, through constant work and communication I attempt to help those same individuals change themselves, as well as the norms in our community that lead to violence.
I’ve done time in prison myself, but I decided to be part of the solution, as opposed to being part of the problem. I figured out that the way to do that was to change the way I think. A person’s actions are only a manifestation of their thoughts.
You know what created the change in me? Mental exhaustion. I was tired. I had been in prison too many times for too long. I finally woke up. Each individual in that life reaches the point of being tired at different times in their lives, where they just want to live a regular life. With support from programs like this, it is possible to get a GED, get a job, and live a different kind of life. I try to paint that picture for all the youth that I come in contact with. I use myself as an example, and hopefully, my story will help them make better decisions.
Now that I’m home, I give my ‘new self’ to the community. I want to try and prevent the things that I once partook in when I was younger. I care about the youth and I want them to do the right thing, to follow the right path, so I’m trying to lead by example.” – Keith Davis, Violence Interrupter, Rock Safe Streets program
Photos and interviews courtesy of Kelly Campbell. “As a portrait photographer, I am doing a series illuminating the professions and heroes of the Human Services sector. Especially now, in the wake of such political incivility and coarseness, I am heartened by the stories and work of the wide range of folks who have dedicated their lives to helping others. I want to explore the decision to make a life’s work in patience and empathy.” #UnSung&UnTold