Advance Peace Rochester doing the groundwork as violence ramps up in the city

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Mayor Malik Evans will be joined by Rochester Police Chief David Smith and others tomorrow morning to condemn the violence we are seeing in the city.

They’re not the only ones trying to stop the rise in crime. A grassroots organization called Advance Peace is hitting the streets determined to make a difference.

Advance Peace is a group of mentors working to help those committing violent acts to make better choices. With the violence we have been seeing over the last few days, members say that is exactly why the organization is needed here in Rochester.

“We’re not just talking it, we’re walking it and we’re on the ground,” Raheem Gayton, Advance Peace supervisor said.

“It’s obvious the city is angry and there’s need to be love,” member Devon Reynolds said. “And hopefully the actions that were shown yesterday really put pressure on our City Council and the people that are in power to put resources behind community organizations.”

After two shootings hours apart and a double homicide Wednesday morning, Reynolds spent part of his day walking up and down neighborhoods off North Clinton Avenue. He as well as members of Pathways to Peace gave out preventative information to reduce violence on the streets.

“I was walking out of a storefront and heard shots,” Reynolds said. “We were able to locate the person, take our shirts off and applied pressure to the wound until the ambulance came.”

The group started their outreach efforts last week and while doing outreach Tuesday on Dewey Avenue, they heard shots ring out and jumped into action to help save the victim.

“Well, it just lets you know more that we are needed,” Gayton said. “You have people out here dealing with finances or money, but we are the ones that’s out here doing a lot of the groundwork.”

“I have children, so I want to make sure my children grow up safe,” member Ramone Hannah said. “At least try to put some effort into helping them grow up safe and help other people and families in the neighborhood.”

Their mission is to reduce gun violence, a monumental task and they believe they can make a difference, but they can’t do it alone.

If you want to problem solve, I think y’all need to get involved,” Gayton said. “This is for everybody.”

Advance peace will be holding a clean sweep on July 28 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. that will begin on Dewey Avenue.

They will then join pathways to peace for a BBQ from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. They are asking for volunteers and members of the community to help out.

To learn more about the Peacemakers fellowship or get involved you can call 428-7544 or email