Rochester organizations come together to curb increased violence

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Rise Up Rochester is looking to put an end to the violence plaguing the city. On Wednesday they collaborated with CERVE, Pathways To Peace, Advance Peace, Teen Empowerment, and police who were in attendance, to help find ways to curb the increased violence. 

60 days into the new year, nine homicides later.

“Enough is enough,” says the Executive Director of Rise Up Rochester, Wanda Ridgeway. “I am tired of losing our 15-year-old kids to nonsense, something has to give. It’s time to stop pointing fingers, and time to come together to stop the violence.”

At tonight’s meeting her organization had collaborating efforts with other anti-violence groups to come up with solutions to bring resources and support to families and the community. 

“One thing we are going to try to do is get in the schools and reach them because by sixth grade some of these kids are gone already you know, believe it or not,” says Ridgeway. “We’ve got to figure out a way when we suspend kids we got to figure out programs for them instead of suspending them and sending them home because they are turning to the streets.”

Ridgeway says there is a lot of work to do and it requires help from everyone. That’s what Keyvio Owens says he wants to do. Owens served almost a decade in prison for attempted murder. Now as the CERVE Coordinator at Rise Up Rochester, he helps victims of gun violence.

“Our goal is to reach victims right at the hospital and provide immediate wrap around services to revictimization and retaliation because again that creates another victim and continues the cycle,” says Owens.

He says since he’s been released from prison, non-violence is the motto he lives by. This work is personal for him. 

“I’ve learned through a lot of anger management courses, and things of that nature how to not act out in violence and how to really do some constructive problem solving and what not,” says Owens. “And I also personally lost two brothers to gun violence.”

CERVE with Rise Up Rochester meets every Tuesday at 4 p.m. to help victims of gun violence. Although Wanda says she is tired of the ongoing acts of violence, as you heard her say, she is not tired of doing the work to help stop it. She will continue to collaborate with other organizations to come up with solutions.