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Daughter of Mob Boss “Interrupts” the Streets of Chicago to Save Youth from Violence

By Jenny Triplett – Prisonworld Magazine

Ameena Fort-Matthews is a violence interrupter for CeaseFire, a not-for profit program in Chicago that views violence as a disease that spreads throughout the community and needs to be “interrupted” to stop the cycle.No stranger to the streets, Fort-Matthews grew up in Chicago, and is the daughter of infamous Chicago mob boss Jeff Fort. She said by the time she was a teenager, she was hustling with a gang of guys.

“There’s guys and girls, and I was one of them, that felt like in order to protect your neighborhood it’s just like, hell, we’re in Afghanistan and our streets is a war zone and that we got to protect it,” she said. “That’s what these young guys and girls are feeling…that they are protecting whatever it is at they are protecting.”

CeaseFire has been operating in Chicago for 15 years. With the assistance of former gang members and street hustlers like Fort-Matthews, the group aims to stop the spread of gun violence using mediation techniques. Their work was highlighted in the documentary The Interrupters, which aired in Omaha last summer. It showed them stepping in to some dangerous situations – talking down gang members and working with them to prevent retaliations.

“What I’m trying to get them to understand is that you don’t have to kill anybody to resolve a conflict and to get them to change their mindset on how they think about violence,” she said.

CLICK HERE for more information on The Interrupters

 

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About Jenny Triplett

Jenny Triplett is the co-owner of Dawah International, LLC, a multimedia company which publishes Prisonworld Magazine and distributes Prisonworld Records. She also co-hosts her own weekly radio show, the Prisonworld Radio Hour, which airs on Mondays at 1:00 pm EST on WWWE-1100 AM International Talk Atlanta and WAEC – Love 860AM. She is a blogger, motivational speaker for correctional facilities, non-profit organizations, corporate functions, schools, colleges and universities. She is part of a professional husband and wife team with her husband Rufus who do just about everything together, having survived over twenty plus years of marriage being attached at the hip. The couple met in the late 80’s when Rufus was singing and touring with the platinum R&B group, Ready for the World. Jenny was an intern at a radio station and headed the marketing outreach team for the act. They are Ebony Magazine’s “Couple of the Year” see February 2012 Issue. As a husband and wife team, Rufus and Jenny readily acknowledge their individual male and female perspectives but both agree that communication is the greatest survival tip. Their appearances on “Family Court with Judge Penny” and “Dr. Phil” garnered rave reviews for their parenting philosophies. Jenny has appeared on “The Mike & Juliet Morning Show” giving advice to “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and she is also a prison and relationship pundit contributing to the Daily National and has provided commentary for CNN, Black Enterprise Magazine, MSN.com and the Los Angeles Times.

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