CLEVELAND — The violence is prevalent.
Shootings happen in Cleveland almost every night, but there’s a group fighting to change that.
Makiya Robertson, 17, has been in a real battle. She estimates she’s been in at least 60 fights since she was 14.
“I'm just fighting until I see blood or I'll see you knocked out,” said Robertson.
The fighting got so bad she was kicked out of school for swinging on a teacher.
“I fight anybody that tries to come at me wrong,” said Makiya.
The internal pain she was dealing with, started three years ago.
That’s when she lost the one person in her life she could count on.
“We did everything together. Like we went and got coffee every morning. Donuts. We'd go to the lake. We’d go fishing. So I feel like half of me is gone.”
Robertson is talking about her grandfather, Herman Hicks. He died suddenly of a heart attack when she was 14, shattering her world.
“When the depression first started, I didn't know I had depression. So it was hard because I tried to commit suicide.”
With a hole in her heart, Robertson says she started fighting and even got arrested.
A year ago, she reached out for help.
“This is your last year in school, in high school and you are grooming to be a nice young lady, but you gotta stop this fighting because everybody not trying to go where you go.” Those words of wisdom came from Makiya’s caseworker with the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, Mr. Morgan.
Once Robertson started working with him, the two would frequently meet-up, with the caseworker imparting wisdom and listen.
“It's coming from a space like, I remember when I was there. I remember what it was like when I lost somebody,” said Myesha Crow, Executive Director for The Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance.
Crow says Robertson is just one of 55 young adults the program is actively working with.
“Our program focuses on its being there for young people who other people may have counted them out,” says Crow.
Robertson says her time with Morgan is working.
“This girl tried to fight me which was like a few days ago and she was like, ‘fight me!’ and I was like, ‘I'm not about to fight you,’ and I walked away.
Robertson says she was proud of herself for being able to walk away.
The senior in High School is now planning to become a defense attorney.
It’s a future she can now see a lot clearer, thanks to the Peacemakers.
“It feels good to know I'm not a ticking time bomb anymore.”
If you’d like to learn more about the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance and how to support their mission, click here.