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How Community Violence Interrupters Are Helping Communities By Addressing Disrespect

How Community Violence Interrupters Are Helping Communities By Addressing Disrespect

Expert Marcus McAllister Shares Powerful Stories to Illustrate the Influence of Peacemaking Approaches That Help Prevent Violent Retaliation


Devin: What is your superpower?

Marcus: I have a few of them, but the one that sticks out most with me and I realized that I have optimism is such a superpower that I possess. I'm not a negative person. The cup is half full, not half empty to me.

Marcus McAllister consults with governments and NGOs around the world on one singular topic: ending violence.

He doesn’t work on any other aspect of crime than that. Seeing it for the public health challenge it is, he works to help communities stop the spread of violence.

He’s become one of the most respected leaders in the country on this topic. You can see him in this photo with President Biden below.

Marcus McAllister on Instagram: “MC&T on deck with @potus #FundPeace joins Bipartisan Safer Communities Act bill signing at @WhiteHouse celebrating $250M for urban gun violence prevention work! Follow #FundPeace hashtag for updates, pics & JOY w/ dozens of @BlackBrownGVP comrades! We still coming for the $5B #BreakTheCycle💯”
June 18, 2023

Marcus helped me see violence in a whole new way.

I will ask an audience of people from all walks of life, do they believe that—people in communities across this country, specifically black and brown, disproportionately affected communities—do they believe that disrespect can get you killed?

I tell you, unanimously, almost everyone raises their hand because they can all think of a situation—whether we agree with it or not—they can think of a situation where just a little disrespect turned into somebody being shot, especially with young people across this country.

His follow-up is powerful:

So my next question is, I ask them how many people in the room raise their hand if disrespect is against the law. Almost 99 percent of them—no one raises their hand.

So we just established that everyone believes that something as simple as disrespect gets shootings that get escalated into more homicides in the inner city, and yet it's not against the law.

Ponder that for a moment. Let that soak in.

People are dying because of triggers that weren’t crimes. Imagine the challenge for those seeking to interrupt the cycle. It’s not about locking people up who are committing pre-murder crimes.

If it's not against the law, but we know it can get people killed, you have to have a specialized type of work—which we do—to handle disrespect before it gets to the point of multiple homicides.

So we kind of police the disrespect; we get in front of things before they happen.

Be sure to watch or listen to the full episode to pull all the insights Marcus uses to prevent violence.

In his remarkable work, Marcus leverages optimism and love for others as a superpower.

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AI Podcast Summary

  • Marcus McAllister is the guest on the podcast discussing his work in community violence interruption.

  • He has been involved in violence prevention and intervention for over 20 years.

  • Marcus started his career in Chicagoland working for an organization called Ceasefire, which later changed its name to Cure Violence.

  • His work involves diffusing conflicts in communities and using personal experience and credibility to intervene in violence.

  • The work aims to prevent disrespect and conflicts from escalating into homicides or multiple shootings.

  • Marcus emphasizes the need for specialized work in community violence intervention, separate from traditional law enforcement, due to the unique nature of diffusing conflicts.

  • He trains individuals in mediation, conflict resolution, risk reduction plans, and identifying high-risk individuals.

  • Marcus highlights the importance of optimism and love in his work, which he considers to be his superpowers.

  • He shares a specific example of using optimism and love to successfully resolve a conflict between two individuals who had engaged in violence.

  • Marcus can be reached through his website,, or on Instagram @marcusmcall. He is available for consultation and training on community violence intervention.

How to Develop Optimism As a Superpower

“I don't have anybody’s major degree, but I’ve been to the White House,” Marcus says. “I’ve been a keynote speaker at Yale Law School.” He credits his optimism and love for his fellow man for helping him achieve such success.

He shared an anecdote about preventing a violent response to a violent act that likely saved at least one life.

I had a situation years ago where a guy had beat a guy upside the head with a pistol real bad, and he reached out to me. At this point, he was trying to see if I would—if I call myself a violence interrupter, a peacemaker, “Here's your opportunity.”

He explained to me what happened. The individual that he had beat upside the head with a pistol, he didn't want that guy to come back to kill him, or he didn't want to have to kill him if he did. But yet, he was the one that was the aggressor.

So I knew both parties involved. That was the work we do. That's the work we train on. That's why I said native to the community. I remember going and talkinh to the guy that had been hit upside the head bad with this pistol.

I thought to myself, what am I to tell somebody who had just been hit upside the head? Most people want to get back. But all I could think about was trying to pull the positive out to him and let him see how things won, how they could have been worse, how they can get worse.

I mean, not that I was condoning him getting hit, but he could have been dead. We know of other situations. They both were intoxicated with alcohol. We know a situation like that don't always just have to wind end up with someone… Hey, and thank God that I'm even here to talk to you.

So, I found myself in a positive situation, just talking to both sides, letting them know that they were friends, letting them know that things could have been much worse. We have the opportunity now. No one's shot. No one's, you know... Yes, you're bruised up. It's more so your pride. Your pride is more bruised than anything. It wasn't something life-threatening where he lost an arm or couldn't hear anymore.

As hard as it is, you have to believe in your superpower. So you have to be able to still find positive things and tell them. Most people say they don't want to hear that. I don't want to hear that. If you have the right superpower and you're able to do it, they will hear it.

For now, your superpower will break down their power of thinking that there's nothing nobody can tell me. So all I did was take the time to point out all the positives. These two individuals are friends today. But it wasn't like an overnight thing. That's one story.

Marcus offers some tips for developing positivity and love as superpowers:

  • He believes that training your mind and brain to seek the positive, even when you don’t feel like it, is beneficial in the long run.

  • Finding the good can be practiced and strengthened over time, just like any skill.

  • Marcus gives an example of missing a flight and finding the silver linings in it rather than dwelling on the negative.

  • He advises practicing finding the good in all situations, no matter how small until it becomes second nature.

  • By doing so, one can respond positively even in more serious situations, such as losing a job, because they have built resilience through practicing on smaller issues.

By following Marcus’s example and advice, you can develop optimism as a superpower that will enable you to do more good in the world.

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Guest-Provided Profile

Marcus McAllister (he/him):

CEO/ Founder, McAllister Consultancy & Training LLC. (MC&T))

About McAllister Consultancy & Training LLC. (MC&T)): McAllister Consultancy and Training LLC.(MC&T) specializing but not limited to all things Community Violence Intervention & Prevention (CVIP). With over 20 years of community work and working in the violence intervention & prevention space, Marcus McAllister launched MC&T to help groups/cities interested in learning about doing violence Intervention & prevention work.

MC&T has provided an array of training and technical assistance (TTA) to over 100 communities in over four countries. The services are adapted to each community based on the needs and capacity of the local partners. MC&T’s goal is to provide quality TTA services for community, city, state, and federal partners to assist in ending the violence epidemic. 

Even within a single locality, the crisis of violence is constantly evolving, with new groups involved, new technologies and different methods used, a” d “hot spot” locations changing regularly. Additionally, the scientific understanding of effective methods for identifying and treating people at highest risk for involvement in violence is rapidly advancing. Interventions that remain static lose their effectiveness. Programming must continually explore new, more effective methods. Few jurisdictions can do this without help from expert advisors. Training and technical assistance (TTA) providers, like MC&T, who are continually learning and evaluating the effectiveness of their services, can provide access to advancements in violence prevention and intervention work and respond to a diverse set of issues.


Biographical Information: Marcus McAllister of McAllister Consultancy and Training (MC&T) is a nationally known speaker, consultant, and expert in the field of community violence interruption. From 2005 until 2020, his work as a former National Training Director & Implementation Specialist for Cure Violence Global has helped the organization achieve its worldwide accolades, which include it being one of the top 9 global NGOs and the number 1 NGO focused primarily on violence prevention.
Marcus was selected to receive the WARRIOR award from the King of Kings Foundation in New York City in June 2015. He was also awarded a New York State Assembly proclamation in recognition of his dedication and commitment to stopping violence in New York City, across the US and globally.
Marcus is a board member for the Black & Brown Peace Coalition as well an advisory board member for EverytSafety’sGun Safety’s Support Fund.
Today, Marcus runs McAllister Consultancy & Training. Building off a legacy of relationships and expertise in the field of CVI Programs, and his expertise being a part of multiple evaluations with positive outcomes in the United States and abroad. (NY, Phil, Trinidad, Baltimore, Chi)
MC&T has recently consulted and led the “Fund Peace” movement in 19 cities across the USA, spearheading the push for ARPA Dollars and convening with community and government to invest in ‘CVI” Community Violence Intervention” efforts being done across the country. Also consulting and being chosen as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) for the White House 16-jurisdiction Community Violence Intervention Collaborative (CVIC).


Instagram Handle: @marcusmcall

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Superpowers for Good: Empowering Changemakers for Social Impact via Regulated Investment Crowdfunding from the SuperCrowd.
We host changemakers who are using regulated investment crowdfunding for social impact--impact crowdfunding--as impact investors or social entrepreneurs, catalyzing change with leadership skills we call superpowers.