CeaseFire: An interrupter in Bermuda

November 14 2011: When Ricardo “Cobe” Williams, a CeaseFire Violence Interrupter and National Training Specialist, headed to Bermuda last month to help promote the award-winning documentary The Interrupters, it was actually for a much needed vacation. Yet, when National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief requested a meeting with the Interrupter, Cobe seized the opportunity to educate the officials there on the public health alternative to violence prevention.

When Ricardo “Cobe” Williams, a CeaseFire Violence Interrupter and National Training Specialist, headed to Bermuda last month to help promote the award-winning documentary The Interrupters, it was actually for a much needed vacation. Cobe, one of the three CeaseFire Interrupters featured in the hit film, agreed to attend the Bermuda Docs Film Festival to enjoy the islands’ beautiful climate and sunny beaches.

Yet, when National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief requested a meeting with the Interrupter, Cobe seized the opportunity to educate the officials there on the public health alternative to violence prevention. For the National Security Minister, this was the continuation of a several months long search to find an intervention that could help with the island’s escalating violence (two local gangs have been responsible for 16 murders in the past two years). In June, a task force visited Crown Heights Save Our Streets (SOS) program, a New York-based CeaseFire replication and an additional 11 violence prevention projects on the East Coast.

For Cobe, whose new position as a National Training Specialist requires him to fly all over the country providing training and technical assistance to CeaseFire’s National Partners (including SOS Crown Heights) the meeting was a welcome part of his trip. When I rib him about being on-the-clock even in a vacation paradise, he responds, “Man, even my kids call me CeaseFire.” This relentless dedication to the CeaseFire mission and his boundless enthusiasm for what he does (when CeaseFire lost funding for a period, Cobe stayed on for 6 months in a volunteer capacity) is on full display in the documentary and recently garnered him a Hero Award.

CeaseFire is currently working with violence prevention partners among Bermuda’s neighbors in the Caribbean, including fledgling partnerships in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. In a recent interview, Dr. Gary Slutkin, CeaseFire Founder and Executive Director told the Royal Gazette, all it would take is a phone call to get things moving in Bermuda.

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