LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It was a march with a purpose as a couple dozen people pounded the pavement in Little Rock on a hot Saturday morning.
“We showed the city that it’s time to turn over a new leaf and we need peace in the city,” Charles Newsom said.
The march was unique because former gang members, like Newsom, helped organize it.
“What we’re doing is we’re getting gang members from different sections where we can start a dialogue and where we can begin to have peace in the city,” Newsom explained.
He would like to see peace because right now homicides in Little Rock are up 21 percent compared to this time last year. Newsom knows first-hand the destruction violent crimes can cause.
“The lifestyle that I was living before was very reckless. I was into the gang lifestyle. I left a lot of mess in the street,” Newsom explained.
After serving 13 years in federal prison, he has a new outlook on life thanks to a non-profit called Restore Hope Arkansas.
“I met with Restore Hope and Restore Hope gave me hope,” Newsom said.
The organization has an initiative called 100 Families. The goal is to help 100 families move from crisis to career.
“Restore Hope is all about community justice innovation and we do that through helping the community organize the services that already exist,” Restore Hope Director Paul Chapman said.
It connects those families with the resources needed to restore their lives. Rainwater, Holt and Sexton also sees the benefit, which is why Restore Hope Arkansas is this month’s difference maker. The organization received a $1,000 donation from the law firm.