" I go into the streets because I know the streets and I have to continue feeding my need to save lives"
Bianca began working for CeaseFire in December of 2011. CeaseFire is an anti-violence program, started in Chicago, that sends former gang members and street affiliated people into targeted neighborhoods to diffuse conflict before they erupt into violence.
Rogers Park - Chicago, IL
Since joining CeaseFire, Bianca has relentlessly helped Chicago inner city at-risk youth and young adults, who are involved in high risk street activity to help save their lives from senseless gun violence and incarceration.
Angalia Bianca is a trained Violence Interrupter and Reduction Strategist. Over her many years as such, she has successfully mediated over 500 conflicts that would have otherwise led to gun violence, injury, or death.
Bianca was featured on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 special following former gang members as they try to prevent violence.
Year after year Chicago reports one of the nation's highest rates for shootings and death by shooting.
In Chicago alone, approximately 76% of all conflicts that resulted in actual shootings started and was escalated from disputes online. Social media has proven to be the single most predicting factor that most likely results in offline violence. Bianca often uses social media as a tool to identify if simple online arguments are headed towards an actual retaliation, and can intervene before it escalates into violence.
Take a peek into the life of being a violence interrupter as A&E cameras follow Bianca into some of the toughest parts of Chicago.
Once an online beef (dispute) is recognized, Bianca will go into the neighborhoods of the parties involved and begin mediating the conflict in efforts to diffuse the situation before it gets out of control and results into gun violence, injury or death.
Because of Bianca's relationships in the communities and her past life of being involved with gangs, drugs, and violence, she has the street credibility to go into some of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago to confront potential shooters directly. Through peaceful conflict resolution, reflective listening, and buying time (a cooling off period), Bianca has successfully saved countless lives by getting potential shooters to stand down.
AWARDS & rECOGNITIONS
Although Bianca no longer works for CeaseFire she continues to do the dangerous work as a violence interrupter; but her activism doesn't stop there. She has appeared on several news broadcast, radio interviews, tv appearances, city counsel meetings, and magazine publications bringing awareness to the issues of gangs, drugs, and gun violence. As a result of her rigorous anti-violence activism and work, Bianca has also received countless awards, certificates, and honors from city officials and community organizations.
Bianca's work isn’t limited to Chicago. She has traveled around the United States and different countries, like Nova Scotia and Abu Dhabi, to speak about the crisis of inner-city gun and gang violence and to train people on conflict mediation.
NASW 2017 Public Citizen of the Year
Resolution for Bravery and Heroism for running into gang gunfire to save the life of a 15-year-old gunshot victim, presented by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, City of Chicago, 2016
Goodwill Ambassador of Peace for the Golden Rule, IChange Nations, 2016
Global Leadership Award, IChange Nations, 2016
Honorary Degree of Doctorate of Philosophy in Humanities, presented by United Graduate College and Seminary International for IChange Nations
UIC/Jane Addams College of Social Work Community Leadership Award 2016
Humanitarian Award, Illinois House of Representatives: presented by State Representative Kelly Cassidy for Invaluable Work and Dedication to the Communities of Chicago, 2013
While there are many moments Bianca has risked her life to mediate violence, the one that stands out occurred when she was not on the clock. One night while driving through the streets of Chicago she witnessed a shooting in progress. Despite the continuous gunfire, Bianca immediately jumped to the aid of the 15-year-old victim. As the shooters fled, Bianca applied pressure to the victim's wounds and kept him alert until EMS arrived, which was instrumental to the young boy's survival. As a result of her quick action and courage, she was given the Resolution for Bravery and Heroism Award by then Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“It’s not really about the awards, it’s about saving lives for me,”
~ Bianca ~
Resolution of Bravery and Heroism Award presented by Mayor Rahm Emanuel (2016)
"I love interacting with young people and sharing my own experience in the hope of helping them make better decisions. The best part is when I know I have stopped somebody from pulling the trigger, and even more gratifying is when a mother thanks me for saving her baby’s life"
Photo by: Lynn Orman Weiss
Bianca's work in the communities she serves comes from a genuine place of compassion and purpose. Her street credibility goes beyond her being an ex gang member and drug addict. She actually cares; and even the gang members of this new generation can feel it. She's present and a familiar face to the people in the community, especially the youth. Many of those kids she watched grow up. They've seen her stand up for them against the Chicago Police Department, hold several fundraisers and back to school drives, go with them to court visits, and volunteer countless hours of her time. She consitantly goes above and beyond for the people she serves. Bianca is truly a beacon of hope and real change that ultimately saves lives and keeps families together. To her this is more than just a job. It is truly her way or life.
Bianca volunteering at youth homeless shelters by help raising money to buy them Christmas gifts (from Santa), school supplies, proper clothing, and a range of other things.
Bianca goes into local high schools to speak with youth about making better choices, and the importance of education and social uplifting.
Bianca was a contributing writer in the first ever Hood Starz Publication (Oct.3,2017) about the ripple effects of gun violence in the community and families, especially kids.
A former West Side Chicago gang member who struggled with drug addiction and incarceration for decades now dedicates her life to serving her community and helping to mediate violence on inner city streets.
“Now, I’m a community leader, I’m an activist.”