Rolling Out

Keith Strickland says stopping violence starts with change in the community

Keith Strickland is inspiring others through his story

Keith Strickland is the president and CEO of Making the Transition Inc., an organization committed to providing services for youth to stay safe, avoid violence, and continue their education. Strickland received an honorary doctorate degree at Carver Bible College, and he continues to dedicate his work to the community and the youth by addressing and sharing how to overcome the obstacles he faced.

Strickland spoke with rolling out about how to protect younger generations from violence, and how the solution starts with the community.

What do you say to that young person that needs to make positive choices in their life instead of hustling on the streets?

If you’re strong enough, real enough, hard enough, and focused enough to go out here and run it up by hustling, you can run it up any way you want to. Don’t take the short way and don’t take the easy way. My daughter is dead right now because I tried to get out of the hood so I can create a better life for my family. I never liked drugs and I never liked selling drugs. I made that sacrifice so that I can make a better way for my family, and my child isn’t here anymore because of the way I went about doing it. You’re never going to win. Even if you win, you still lose somewhere. Like I told you, I made my money and I still lost. I got my freedom, beat my cases, and still lost. I know how hard it can be out here, especially when you’re young and you’re trying to find your way in, and nobody is opening doors and nobody’s making a way for you. You have to try and make a real way for yourself.

What do we need to do as a community to help build brighter futures?

Let’s talk about the young man that was shot at 16-years-old who went to the wrong door to pick up his siblings. Instead of them seeing somebody who they might be able to help, they saw somebody who they thought was a threat. They went on the offense to eliminate the threat. We have to address that. We can’t just post on social media. We can’t get fed up. We can’t get upset. We have to go and send the emails and we have to make the call. We have to force the district attorney to indict. We need to have those conversations, but we also got to start going to other people’s communities and letting them meet us and letting them get to know us. Most of the violence comes from hate. … and some come from ignorance. All I’m saying is anything that is a risk to our children is an enemy to our community, and it’s gotta be addressed by the entire community.

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