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Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance working to prevent, interrupt violence

Lately, they've been seeing much younger people as both perpetrators and victims of gun violence in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — The city of Cleveland is getting to work to stop the gun violence in our community.

Tuesday, the city announced that it had received $1.75 million from The Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grants Program.

There are 17 members of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance (CPA). 

They are in neighborhoods considered "hotspots" for violence daily, working to prevent gun violence and when it does happen, to try and prevent retaliation.

"Our goal is to basically take those who have the potential to cause gun violence, we want you to put the gun down and pick up something else, some type of skill, some type of employment," says Vince Evans with the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance.

The Peacemakers are out in the community talking, connecting people to mentorship and giving resources when wanted.

They have a team who deploys to shooting scenes to see what people's immediate needs are. They're also at the hospital with families to calm tensions and be a point person for the family as a gun violence victim recovers.

"The goal is to help them get what they need before they leave the hospital. The same thing we're doing out here, they're doing it in the hospital. Do you need a mentor, do you need a resume made? While we're laying here, let's fill out some job applications," Evans adds.

Evans is out advocating after turning his own life around under the guidance of CPA Executive Director Myesha Watkins, who has seen a shift in the victims they work with.

"The most concerning thing now is that the victims and the perpetrators are young people," Watkins notes. "Where before violence would have an age gap, right now our young people ages 10 to 18 are victims and perpetrators of gun violence."

Evans wants to turn people's lives, and ways of thinking, around.

For him, the question isn't 'who would you die for?' It's 'who do you live for?'

"You have nothing to die for and everything to live for, so we get rid of this death-sustaining language and death-sustaining mentality and replace it with life affirming," he says.

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