Updated: Mar 17, 2022
NVI Outreach Specialist Thomas Lumpkins and Artist and Nonviolence Trainer Gem Barros are featured in the March 13, 2022 episode of Lives Lost on Rhode Island PBS Weekly (watch video below). Interviewed by Pamela Watts, their powerful and moving testimony is especially pertinent as Providence, and communities throughout the state, are grappling with the inevitable fallout from the massive surge in gun sales during 2020 and 2021.
Providing Alternatives to Violence
As part of the Intervention Team at NVI, Thomas is on the streets engaging with at-risk youth who are facing the same challenges that he has faced all his life.
He was a favorite of the February SEED Cohort, and was instrumental in persuading students to take part, with one member saying "I'm not going to lie, Bro ... at first I thought it was for soft people. But I learned in the first rule, it's not for cowards."
An Essential Partner on Many Levels
As a survivor of gun violence, Gem knows first hand the importance of the empathy, kindness, and skill the Victim Services Team at NVI provides. Eleven years after her daughter Shemeeka was killed in a robbery she is still a part of the NVI family, using art as an outlet for the pain that never really goes away.
A perfect example is her piece, "Red Rain," commissioned by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence in 2021, which is permanently on display at the Nonviolence Institute. As Gem explains, "I wanted it to say that we all bleed the same, that we're all being affected by gun violence."
Living the Principles and Steps
We are proud of the examples set by Thomas and Gem, and so many others who have made the commitment to live a nonviolent life. This is hard work, not only in abstaining from physical violence, but also in the way we think about ourselves and how we treat others on a daily basis.
We are always happy to help others in understanding the idea and goals of the Beloved Community, which is reflective of the teachings of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., and is the basis of the work at NVI. Please feel free to reach out to us at (401) 785-2320 or send an email regarding Nonviolence Education or Training, or if you, or someone you know, is a victim of violence in need of help.