12/30/2011 03:29 pm ET

CeaseFire Hosts Pre-New Year's Eve Peace Summit In Chicago

Anti-violence organization CeaseFire Illinois on Friday evening will host a "peace summit" expected to bring together some 300 Latino and African American youth as the group looks to delve into the question of "Why are people so quick to shoot in Chicago?"

The summit, to be held at the Johnny Miller Life Center, 2622 W. Jackson, from 6-9 p.m., aims to help promote unity and non-violence, as an event announcement read.

The event arrives the same week as news that the city's murder rate in 2011, to date, has declined to its lowest level in nearly 50 years. Still, some areas of the city -- such as the city's South Side Englewood neighborhood -- remain plagued by violence. As the Chicago Sun-Times reports, Englewood has seen a 40 percent increase in murders this year compared to 2010. Just this week, two teens were killed and five others were injured when a gunman opened fire at an area Church's Chicken restaurant.

CeaseFire is a public health strategy implemented with the hope of decreasing the brutal violence that continues to disproportionately impact poor, urban neighborhoods in Chicago. The group, whose work was featured in the critically-acclaimed documentary "The Interrupters," engages in interventions in risky neighborhoods and helps at-risk youth find employment.

In 2010, the group reported that they mediated 498 conflicts in Chicago and potentially saved hundreds of lives.

Tio Hardiman, CeaseFire's Illinois Director, described earlier this year that theirs is a model he hopes to bring to other communities also struggling with violence in a blog on The Huffington Post.

"Violence undermines all other efforts to help distressed communities thrive -- we must turn the tide on violence if better education, community development, job creation and health promotion is to take root in neighborhoods that need them the most," Hardiman wrote.

WATCH a trailer for the film "The Interrupters:"