Inside Ceasefire Rockford

By: Meghan Dwyer Email
By: Meghan Dwyer Email

"The mind set of the kids is what has to be changed. It's glorified it's glammified. You know the big rims, the cars, the chains, they think the only way you can get that is by being a dope boy or being in a gang -- But you don't."

From South Central L.A. to Rockford Roman Pavia now works for Ceasefire.

"If not for this job I'd be in the same category you know struggling to get hired because I have a past, you know what I mean?"

The tattoo on his head, which says "dead end," is now just a faded symbol of his past life in the streets.

Rockford's growing crime problem means Ceasefire is needed more than ever, but many question whether it's actually doing anything, especially in light of recent public shootings.

"People only know ceasefire for holding prayer vigils and candlelight vigils, and yelling "stop the shooting." That's only five percent of our duties in the community," says Executive Director Rev. Ovester Armstrong Jr.

The organization says its main goal is to get people jobs, GEDs, and ultimately, hope.

Ceasefire's current budget is $200,000. That pays four case workers and one "violence interrupter" to pound the streets at night, looking for people living in violent parts of the community.

Most of them come from violent backgrounds too, filled with drugs and poverty. They hope that kind of street cred means people will listen.

Much of what they do, they say, is behind the scenes - stopping problems before they start.

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