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2013-2014 Common Reader

Book Title:

“Don’t Shoot:One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America” by David M. Kennedy

Author:

David M. Kennedy

What is a "common reader"?

A common reader is a book that is assigned to all first-year students to read before they arrive on campus. The purpose of a common reader is to create a connection among all new students. A university is essentially a learning community, and the first-year reader is the one assignment you will have in common with other new students. When students, regardless major area of study, read a common text a shared learning experience is possible. A common reading allows various experiences, reactions, and perspectives to be exchanged and discussed. All first-year students are expected to read this book before arriving for Fall term classes.

About the book

In this book author David M. Kennedy, Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, traces his own remarkable lifelong commitment to reducing inner city youth violence and drug dealing.

It is the author’s chronicle of his decades-long crusade to solve one of America's most pressing and shameful social problems. Kennedy, who engineered the "Boston Miracle" in the 1990s, cutting youth homicide by two-thirds at the height of the crack epidemic, reveals the history and the strategy behind his commonsense yet revolutionary approach to ending crime. He has refined an approach that everyone- gang members, drug dealers, cops, and neighbors- comes together in a giant community meeting, an intervention and an affirmation of a shared desire for safety and peace. The proof is in the miraculous results. Don't Shoot is a riveting, page-turning read, which combines street reality, social science, moral urgency, and the personal journey of Kennedy who shows that there could be an end in sight.

Why was this book selected?

Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America was selected because the author presents a well-researched compelling account of how inner city violence can be reduced and even eradicated.

As you know from recent events, violence is a widespread social problem that represents a serious cultural, political, and ethical challenge to this country. As a Barry student, your education will be shaped by the values outlined in the mission and core commitments. The common reader will help you begin to understand the personal and social commitments necessary to address social problems and to accept responsibility for developing communities based on an ethic of care and concern for others.

The common reader was selected by the General Education Curriculum Committee, a 14-member group of faculty who teach the core courses (writing, theology, philosophy, literature, fine arts, history, sociology, political science, math, and science) that are required for every undergraduate program.

How will it be used?

All first-year students are expected to read this book before they arrive for Fall term classes. Many first-year classes will use the book as part of one or more assignments.

Related events

On October 24, 2013, Barry University will host a one-day mini-conference on “Reclaiming Community from a Culture of Violence.” Inspired by the theme of the common reader, this exciting all-day event will include panel presentations and discussions, guest speakers from local community-based agencies, film screenings, service opportunities, and many other interesting sessions. In addition, author David M. Kennedy will visit campus and serve as the keynote speaker.

Attending conference sessions and relating the information to the reader may be required or optional assignments for many classes.

Instructors may require attendance to the conference as part of a class assignment.

Buying it

“Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America” by David M. Kennedy

Bloomsbury Publishing (Paperback 2012, 336 pages)
ISBN: 9781608194148
Social Science

Available at most retail outlets and soon at the Barry Bookstore.

Barry Bookstore link

About the author

Professor David M. Kennedy has worked with the police, gang members, and residents of dangerous communities in America. His innovative methods have been credited with developing sustainable solutions to these insidious social problems. He is the Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control and a Professor of Criminal Justice at John Jay College. Kennedy has received two Webber Seavey awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, two Innovations in American Government awards from the Kennedy School of Government, and a Herman Goldstein Problem-Oriented Policing Award. His work has been used as a model or source for safety and drug intervention initiatives by the Clinton and Bush administrations, and by the Bureau of Justice. Kennedy lives in Brooklyn, New York

You can read about the book and listen to an interview with the author at NPR Program: “Interrupting Violence”

Praise for this book

“Read this important book - part jeremiad, part gripping crime thriller - and you will believe... This is how we, as a nation, can and must finally back out of the rolling destruction, by death and mass incarceration, of our cities, our society, and our moral character” – Boston Globe

“From roughly the spot on the Venn diagram of intellectual culture where Malcolm Gladwell and David Simon overlap... Kennedy's work suggest[s] that optimism [is] possible” – New Republic

“[Kennedy] argues for a crime-fighting program that makes a lot more sense than anything you're likely to hear about in Washington (or, for that matter, your local statehouse). The book reads like a thriller, but it's full of commonsense solutions to a few seemingly insurmountable problems” – Very Short List

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