The three-minute interview: Curtis Mozie

People,Alan Blinder

Mozie is a longtime D.C. activist against gun violence. He recounts his experiences in a new book, "Beyond the Yellow Tape: Life and Death on the Streets of D.C."

What have you been doing for all these years?

I mentor and talk with at-risk youth. They come into the safe house that I started, I put them on video and they talk about why they do what they do, and a lot of them predict they'll die a week later.

Why did you get involved in talking with people who may become victims of violence? I know you've interviewed over 70 victims.

I noticed back in the late '80s that a lot of young men were being destroyed by gun violence. I heard a lot of complaints, but no one said they wanted to do anything about it, so I grabbed my video camera, and I began documenting life on the streets. I had no idea it would get like this, but I kept going.

What's in your book?

Everything that I got on video, I transcribed into words because a lot of these folks who were murdered were honor roll students, others were caught in the middle and others were at-risk. But I still wanted to tell their stories. I wanted to put these people's names in stone. I wanted to make sure they would never be forgotten, and I wanted people to learn from it. If a parent has a kid who is at-risk, they should make their kid read this book so they can see reality.

D.C. used to be called the "murder capital." What do you make of the city now?

It's getting better. Our homicide rate is going down each year, but one murder is one murder too many. We've got to keep working, though. It's a long process, and I want to be part of it.

-- Alan Blinder

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