We encountered Dwayne Hunter, 43, of West Garfield Park, at an anti-violence resource popup event at California and Polk on Nov. 10, where he was representing the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, an Austin-based nonprofit that promotes peace and violence prevention in the city. Hunter works full-time for the nonprofit. He talked about his work and why he believes it’s so effective.
On how he got involved with the Institute
I had a good rapport with the people in my community, so I was a good candidate for the job. I knew the community, the major people in the community, and things of that nature.
On his day-to-day workflow
I have a case load with about 25 people that’s from the community. I reach out to various participants every day. I mediate conflicts whenever they happen in the community. I do hospital responses and things like that. People know that we’re out here to help. They don’t have to handle everything on their own. Like with retaliating, they don’t have to do that anymore. We have people standing in the gap interceding for them.
Let’s say there was a shooting and I get the shootings from Chicago Police Department (CPD) information. I respond to the scene of the crime and I get to the crime and try to make as many connections as I can with the victim’s family and friends. I also check social media to see if [the crime] is being antagonized online. Then, I go to the hospital and try to get to the bottom of the situation and see if I can stop the next incident from happening. That’s an initial incident response.
On his old job
I’ve been doing this for three years. Before this, I worked in a warehouse. My work with the Institute is more fulfilling than my last job. I’ve had a lot of older guys in the community who were doing this work who saw me coming up in the streets and they thought this would be something that I could do and I’ve been doing a good job ever since.