As people across the country continue to wrap their heads around this weekend’s mass shootings, advocates are raising awareness to gun violence in their own communities.
2019 year to date statistics from the Michigan State Police Major Crimes Unit shows so far 16 people died from shootings in the city of Flint.
And there were 49 additional shootings.
“I went into shock I bust out crying I was like what happened to me,” said Leon El-Alamin.
Leon El-Alamin knows gun violence first hand.
Shortly after high school he was shot in the head, and spent 30 days in a coma.
“When I woke up I tried to get up to engage the conversation with everyone and I couldn’t really move and I asked what was going on and they slowly began to explain to me what happened,” he said.
But it was serving time in prison, and getting mentored from other inmates that made Leon want to turn his life around.
He founded the MADE Institute, which mentors at risk youth, helps people transition after prison, and works to improve the community.
He says gun violence still runs rampant.
“It’s unfortunate we normalize it. It just becomes a way of life for people in those communities but it’s not normal these multiple layers of trauma that hasn’t been addressed,” he said
He says that violence is a cycle that’s hard to break.
“When you begin to get progress it seems like it’s another trauma that comes in and you never had time to heal from the one you’re dealing with,” he said.
Leon believes breaking that cycle starts with revitalizing homes and neighborhoods like this one on East Parkway Avenue.
It’s a street he knows well.
“I was shot in this same neighborhood I was shot because of the bad choices in my life so that’s why it’s so important for me to come back,” he said.
It’s Leon’s perseverance that’s helping him and the MADE Institute leave their own mark.
“You have individuals that still care about their community care about people and all they need is a second chance whether it’s resources, mentorship, or just some genuine love,” he said.