CLEVELAND — What started as an exclusive interview with self-proclaimed Cleveland gang members more than three years ago, sparked a vision earlier this year.
“I decided to start pulling together youngsters from various neighborhoods to see if we can sit down for a couple of things,” said Charles See. “I wanted to find out what they need, identify some resources for them and do some cross-community fertilization."
Now it’s something See and Gregory Terrell say they've facilitated about four times in the past few months, using their connections and street cred to bring rival gang members together for mediation.
See and Terrell lead a Cleveland organization called "Stop the Pain".
“Stop the Pain is a movement for peace, hope and healing,” said Terrell. “Its goal is to bring about peace in our community on a large scale.”
Other than fostering conversations with gang members, Stop the Pain focuses on driving youth away from the streets and violence.
The group works with the Partnership for a Safer Cleveland, referring kids to trauma services and jobs.
Group leaders told News 5 that the 80 kids in the group witness violence regularly near their schools, homes and rec centers, including Antoine Carrington.
“We lack a lot of positive influence, in black neighborhoods," said Carrington.
Carrington told News 5 that he lost his cousin to gun violence and Terrell's influence changed his way of thinking.
“It was a time I would've liked revenge but talking to Terrell reminded me to put it in God’s hands,” said Carrington. “The violence won’t stop if I bring more violence to it, so I have to be on this side and be against it.”
Terrell's goal is to ensure all the kids he mentors view life the same way that Carrington does.
"On a daily basis I may be out on the streets for 13 or 14 hours per day in different communities, talking to the youth about what I can provide for them what resources can we find for them," said Terrell.
For more information on Stop the Pain, click here.
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