Violence Interrupter at Pause for Peace, documentary The Interrupters
Hijri - Unknown-Present (AH); Common Era - Unknown-Present (CE)
Ameena Matthews has courageously been working for peace in her Chicago community for decades. She experienced first hand the frequency and normality of violence in her neighborhoods, and has thus been organizing to engage the public in safety and social justice action ever since. Matthews’ career began at Cure Violence, where she worked as a Violence Interrupter. Her incredible work at Cure Violence as well as her compassionate character were highlighted in the documentary The Interrupters, garnering high critical praise, an International Emmy Award, and screenings at the Sundance Film Festival. Matthews is also the CEO of Pause for Peace, an organization founded on her mediation, activism, and behavioral practice expertise. Pause for Peace’s mission is to change the culture of urban youth in order to encourage their social control and non-violent conflict resolution skills. Besides working directly with youth to address these behavioral strategies, Pause for Peace works diligently to strengthen the community into one that has resources for non-violent behavior. Matthews is regarded extremely highly around Chicago and the nation, and has received many prestigious awards including the 2013 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal. In June 2019, Matthews announced her campaign for Chicago’s 1st District Congressional seat. Her progressive platform of public safety, women’s rights, and criminal justice reform represents a beacon of change for communities across Chicago. She attributes her Muslim faith and family with the inspiration and strength to continue fighting for peace, justice, and community.