Better Family Life is opening open four de-escalation centers as part of a program to prevent murders. The idea came about from the response to the yard signs the organization has been giving out which say "We have to stop killing each other."
Better Family Life vice president, James Clark told News 4, "People started calling, we appreciate your signs, you have them everywhere but I know two people who have a problem that's about to turn violent."
Clark said in impoverished neighborhoods with high crime there's a reluctance to turn the other cheek or back down which can be perceived as weakness. So, often small disputes can escalate and lead to violence.
Better Family Life employees had success mediating conflicts so they decided to take the effort city-wide.
December 6, the organization will open de-escalation centers at Greater St. Marks Family Church at 9950 Glen Owens Drive, New Northside Missionary Baptist Church at 8645 Goodfellow Boulevard, Washington Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church at 613 Garrison Avenue and Curby Memorial Presbyterian Church at 2621 Utah Street.
People who know about conflicts within their family, group of friends or their neighborhood can go to a center and speak with a licensed social worker.
"We're not trying to determine who's right and wrong, but we need to know the basic nature of the conflict. Then we start very aggressive de-escalation. We will do whatever it takes to have these two people peacefully resolve the conflict."
The organization hopes to expand from four churches to eight in the spring.
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