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Apr 30
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Sakyong Meets the Interrupters

The Sakyong shaking hands with Tio Hardiman the Director for CeaseFire Illinois

The Sakyong shaking hands with Tio Hardiman the Director for CeaseFire Illinois

reported by Joshua Silberstein, Chief of Staff for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
photos by Breton Hoagland

At the University of Illinois campus in downtown Chicago the Sakyong was invited to be a part of a meeting of CeaseFire “Interrupters” and volunteers. CeaseFire is an anti-violence program and initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention aimed at reducing street violence by using outreach workers to interrupt potentially violent situations. These violence interrupters work on the street, mediating conflicts between gangs and intervening to prevent retaliatory shootings and killings.

At the meeting, the room was overflowing with 50-60 members of the organization. The Sakyong began by talking about how we can see the humanity that is in ourselves and others and then shared how he wanted to listen to what brought these amazing men and women to this type of work. Many shared intimate stories about their experiences where they lived and personal transformations from lives of violence to lives of wanting to contribute to their culture and communities. The meeting ended with the Sakyong being asked to lead a meditation. The full story can be read in the Chicago Tribune article below along with some additional pictures from the meeting.

CeaseFire "Interrupters" and Volunteers

CeaseFire “Interrupters” and Volunteers

Two days later, on Saturday, the Sakyong was invited to meet with several “interrupters”, volunteers and the Executive Director of the organization, Dr. Gary Slutkin who started the organization in 1995. This meeting was held at one of their community based offices in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West side of Chicago. There the Sakyong participated in another discussion and listening session, looking at ways in which meditation and compassionate understanding can be used as additional tools for the already ongoing work of the CeaseFire organization.

For those interested there is also a documentary chronicling CeaseFire’s work called The Interrupters.

Click here to read the Chicago Tribune article (unavailable outside of the US, unfortunately).

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2 responses to “ Sakyong Meets the Interrupters ”
  1. Brian Guns
    May 6, 2013

    ….and I just read it in Canada (Halifax) by clicking on “here.”

  2. Just read the Chicago Tribune article from Spain. It is possible!

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