“It’s not over. When you are a minority and live in a poor neighborhood, you live under violence and trauma. But if we succeed at our mission and you actually live in peace, then the neighborhood experiences gentrification. We then push you out. In the last 10 years, 200,000 African Americans left Chicago. 200,000. It’s a significant number. We’re closing down the schools.
We’re eliminating the civil things that help build our young people. Our young people are left with almost with no option, rather frustration and pain. We’re designing these pressures that are unbearable and I’m here just as a witness.” -Teny Gross, #BIF2017
Teny Gross is a former Israeli Army sergeant and Harvard Divinity School graduate who worked in the anti-violence campaign known as the Boston Miracle. During the 1990s, Gross was active in the Dorchester neighborhood, doing community outreach, gang mediation, job creation, and skills training. Gross also taught kids to document their lives with photography.
In 2000, leaders at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Providence launched the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence and hired Gross as its director in 2001. Gross’s approach to replacing the cycle of violence was to merge the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolence principles and practices with the national experiment that began in Boston.