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Murray Holman

Murray Holman knows the pain of losing a loved one to violence. His father-in-law was fatally shot in 2010. His brother was killed when a car he was hanging onto crashed in a drug-infested neighborhood.

Holman came precariously close to going down a similar road himself, when in the 1980s he considered joining what would become one of the city’s most notorious gangs.

But he had a peacemaker in his life. Pastor James Giles showed Holman another path.

“The same stuff he taught me, I’m using now,” he said in a previous interview.

Holman serves as executive director of the city’s Stop the Violence Coalition, which runs programs to mediate disputes and prevent violence in the community. His group works with others in the city as part of a broader Peacemaker initiative.

That includes walking the Walden Galleria on weekend nights, looking for groups of teens who might be looking for trouble. The group patrols Chippewa Street, and maintains a presence at events such as the Gus Macker basketball tournament and Juneteenth Festival.

Most recently the group took to street corners all over the city, trying to curtail drug activity in the hours when hundreds of students are trying to make it safely home from school.

Holman and others in the group aren’t just looking for trouble. They try to forge relationships with the city’s young people, serve as mentors and inspire them to finish their education and make a better life for their futures.

Just like Giles did for Holman.

“Our main concern is stopping the drug activity and violence that is ruining this community,” he said.

– Jane Kwiatkowski and Tiffany Lankes