Black History Spotlight

Ricardo "Cobe" Williams

Ricardo WilliamsRicardo "Cobe" Williams has been working as a Violence Interrupter at CeaseFire for the last four years. CeaseFire is a Chicago-based violence prevention program administered by the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention (CPVP). CeaseFire intervenes in crises, mediates disputes between individuals, and intercedes on group disputes to prevent violent events. The staff members are seasoned, well-trained professionals from the communities they represent with a background on the streets.

Cobe's work as a Violence Interrupter for Ceasefire in Englewood, one of Chicago's most violent communities, has been highlighted in the critically acclaimed documentary "The Interrupters" and earned him the promotion to National Trainer for CeaseFire. "There was a time in my life when I was a very well-known and respected gang member. A lot of people used to look up to me. Now days, I am a National Trainer for Ceasefire. I train people all over the world. It feels good to go around the world and train people who used to be like me and are now making a difference in their community."

Cobe was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago attending Oglesby Grammar School and Calumet High School. He is the youngest child of three raised by his grandparents. At the time, his mother was on drugs and his father was in prison. As a child, Cobe vowed never to use drugs or drink because of what his family went through. Cobe lost his father when he was 11. His father was murdered because of his lifestyle. He adored his father and wanted to be like him. Between 1989 and 2004, Cobe spent three stints in prison for drug related charges and attempted murder. Upon his final release from prison, Cobe decided to turn his life around and do things differently. "When I was in prison, thatís when I first heard about Ceasefire. I was watching the news and saw all the violence that was going on in Englewood. I said to myself when I get out, I was going to connect with ceasefire and try to help make a difference in the community because I used to be part of the problem." When CeaseFire lost funding in 2007, Cobe demonstrated his commitment by continuing to work without pay until his position was restored seven months later. Cobe has endured countless challenges in his life and shares his experiences with young people on a daily basis.


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