Hello. My name is Rasheedat Fetuga and I am the founder of Gideon's Army. I was a very well-loved teacher in Metro Nashville Public Schools. I started Gideon's Army when one of my students, Lamar Hughes, was shot to death in broad daylight, in front of his mother in Edgehill. Soon after Lamar was killed, my students Tevin Scruggs and Mikal Shakir were also both gunned down-- Tevin was killed on my street corner. I heard the shots, the chaos, the ambulances, the sadness, the silence... not knowing it was my own sweet baby who would soon take his last breath.
Years later we are still burying children killed by gun violence and this is unacceptable. We can't keep coming with the same solutions expecting different results. And lip service isn't getting us anywhere.
How many more of our children are we going to let die on Nashville's streets? How much longer are we going to talk about stopping violence while our children continue to kill each other?
Violence in Nashville has surged over the last six years with almost 16,000 incidents of violence between youth and young adults ages 14-25-- most violence, especially gun violence and homicides, is happening in North Nashville, Cayce, and Sudekum/Napier.
Didn't youth violence in Nashville decrease? Well, it did but there was a surge in 2015 with a total of 2,768 violent incidents; 39 of those incidents were youth homicides. A total of 78 people were killed that year, making young people 50% of all murder victims in the city. Youth were not only harmed by being casualties of violence, 55% of those who committed the murders were also youth and young adults 25 years and younger.
Of all youth killed, 64% of them are black boys.
We have to stop this madness. We have to say no more. We have to be fed up. And we absolutely must invest in a viable solution.
Gideon's Army exists to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, save our children from death and incarceration, and guide them on a secure path to success. We can do this. But we have to do it together. Will you join us?
We researched the best youth violence intervention and prevention strategies across the Nation and from that we created an innovative community-based youth violence prevention program that can stop youth violence all together or reduce the violence and still save so many lives.
Our solution is a multi-tier community-based violence prevention and intervention model. This model, a multi-service neighborhood program, will coordinate youth violence efforts across the city, and bring communities and city agencies together to address the deeper things that are happening in communities that cause violence. It is a direct service to our clients, and promotes a public health approach to violence through community building, mentoring, economic development, traditional and non-traditional case management, violence interruption, emotional trauma care, social emotional and life-skill building, peace circles, re-entry care, and so much more.
One of the first things we are going to do is bring the Cure Violence model to Nashville. Cure Violence stops the spread of violence by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control – detecting and interrupting conflicts, identifying and treating the highest risk individuals, and changing social norms – resulting in reductions in violence of up to 73%. In fact, the Cure Violence model has been replicated 16 times and has been validated by a 3-year U.S. Department of Justice study conducted by 4 universities, showing 41–73% drops in shootings and killings, and 100% drops in retaliation murders. The first year of impact regularly shows 25–45% drops in shootings and killings.
But this isn't all. We will have in school and after-school programs, a trauma camp, and even a mural project. We will provide deep caring for those who have been affected by violence and do everything we can to get our youth on the right track BEFORE violence occurs.
We will roll out a full program in North Nashville this fall and roll out in Cayce and Sudekum/Napier in stages.
Will you help us? We have raised most of what we need for our first community. We need the community to rise up as a unified force and work together to protect our children.
The money you donate will go towards training and technical analysis with Cure Violence. It will go towards Circle training for staff and volunteers. It will help us build capacity and pay stipends to our most active youth leaders. It will help us save the lives of countless young people in our city.
We can invest now, or pay later-- either way there is a cost.
Please donate and share on your page. Every share and every donation has the possibility to save a child's life.