Local group seeks to stop inner city violence

Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 20:12:42-05

Knocking on doors, walking the city’s streets, the daily routine for members of the society for nonviolent change.

"We put our boots to the pavement,” said Gregory Terrell, the founder and leader of the group. “Wherever we know youth are going to be there and it’s going to be an abundance of them, then we go to that area.”

Fifteen guys all from the streets, all with their own stories to share, set out each day on one mission--bring peace and stability to the community.

Terrell declared, “drive by shootings, raping our women, assaulting our children, that day has come to an end.”

Nick Harris, resident of the Woodland neighborhood said, “they see some incident happen, they right on it, instantly, spotless.”

Raynold Jefferson, resident of the same area, wants to join the group.

He said, “what cops can’t actually do, they’re doing.”

Sulieman Thornton has been with the group since it started two years ago. He expressed how coming from the streets enabled him to impact the youth in it.

“They see me, come from where I came from, I come from the same place and I graduated from college, it’s like the saying in the streets, keep it real or keep it 100, when they looking at us, they see them, older.”

Working in tandem with Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority police, the band of brothers respond to all sorts of incidents. And what's unique is all of the guys are volunteers and they intervene with little to no body protection.

“They know that we’re sincerely there for them, they feel confident and they feel safe, and that’s key,” Thornton said.

When asked why they do it, Terrell said any other way just wouldn't be as effective.

“When you do outreach work, you have to be proactive…you have to engage people…you have to challenge those people who are in the community, disrupting that community…I do it because I care about my community, I do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Another function of the non-profit group is to help people find employment. Last year, they got more than 20 people in the neighborhood a job.