Breaking the Silence on Black on Black Violence
The Silent War Campaign is a program in Seattle that seeks to address the issue of ongoing violence in the African American community. Reverend Harriet Walden is the National Director. The organization has been in existence for 8 years.
The Silent War Campaign is developing an organized response to not only the recent murders but to so many deaths that have occurred as a result of African Americans killing each other. Since 1979, there have been over 280 black-on-black homicides in Seattle. Nationally, blacks were six times more likely to be murdered than whites between 1976 and 2000, and seven times more likely than whites to commit murder. Most striking of all, 94 percent of black victims were killed by other blacks In 1999 The Silent War Campaign began convening focus groups to study blacks’ attitudes toward violence within their midst. Our latest effort, through the Family Empowerment Institute, has been a community survey designed to elicit even more detailed information. What we want to find out is, after living with violence for so long, do our African American children think it’s normal? It’s almost like it’s not processed anymore; it bounces off of us. We’re barely even outraged; we barely grieve. The senselessness of the crimes—motivated neither by gang warfare nor drug dealing or any other easily defined reason—has spurred The Silent War Campaign to speak out against a phenomenon that has too long gone ignored. The violence that is taking place in our communities is one of the most serious things that has happened to us in the last several generations. The problem is a mentality that accepts violence as normal, not something that can be addressed through legislation but through education and through the understanding of oppression.
The Silent War Campaign is working to increase awareness pertaining to the impact that Black on Black violence has in our communities. We are also working to provide a healthy and supportive environment for African American people to individually and collectively mourn the deaths of those victimized by Black on Black violence and establish a sense of pride, unity and love within African American communities. Our number one priority is to find a way to stop black on black violence, increase the peace and sow the seeds of love.