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‘Encouraged me to keep my head up’ -- Detroit Ceasefire Youth Initiative helps teen with career plan

Goal is to do something about gun violence instead of sitting down, letting it happen

This week for Your Neighborhood, meet a man whose life has been forever changed by gun violence.

So now he’s set out to change the lives of others so no one else has to feel the pain he’s felt losing a loved one.

"Ordinary of course it means normal but the rose is really the eye catcher," explained Diallo Carr.

The 18-year-old just graduated high school and started his own clothing line called Ordinary Clothing. The incoming college freshman has a career plan for his life thanks to help from Ceasefire Youth Initiative.

“Ever since they stepped into my life as far as the program they kind of encouraged me to keep my head up on the west side of Detroit because you know it’s not easy if you try to make it from there,” said Carr.

“The model for Ceasefire Youth Initiative is men stand up, boys sit down,” explained the non-profit CEO Reggie “Reg” Davis.

Doing something about gun violence

That’s what the organization has called on area men to do: Take a stand and do something about gun violence instead of sitting down and letting it happen. Davis started the organization nearly 20 years ago.

“Our program involves men who go into the schools and we mentor young men,” he explained. “Many of them don’t have a father or father figure so we’re there to provide and take care of that situation.”

The radio host turned activist goes out into the schools with a team of volunteers to teach programs on conflict resolution, anti-bullying and more to teens like Carr.

“One thing that they really taught me is that God is within our hearts,” Carr said. “You know how they say that he’s up there he’s really within our hearts.”

Remembering Vito Davis

And at the heart of the program is the reason Davis started the non-profit: He lost his brother Vito Davis to gun violence in 2001 at just 19 years old.

“There were five young men between the ages of 13 and 20 that decided to take his life. They robbed him,” Reggie said. “There are no words that can describe the feeling that I got when I received a phone call, meet us at the morgue.”

Since that day, he's dedicated his life to try and make sure others don't have to feel a similar pain.

“Do you miss your brother?” we asked him.

“Do I miss my brother? Oh my God,” said Davis. “You done made me cry bruh. You done made me cry. You done made me cry. Don’t do that -- Vito I love you. Thank you for being a great inspiration for this movement that we are a part of saving young lives. I love you Vito and I’ll see you again soon.”

In nearly 20 years, the program has seen thousands of students. Part of what they do is teach these young men gratitude so Friday, July 10 from 11 a.m. to noon, Detroit Ceasefire Youth Initiative will be providing hot meals to nearly 200 Meijer employees for serving the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

As for Carr, he plans to study criminal justice at Oakland University.

For more information on Ceasefire Youth Initiative, please visit: http://ceasefiremichigan.org/

For more information on Ordinary Clothing, please visit: www.instagram.com/ordinaryclothingbrand

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