Arrested Development

Diane Kehoe Employment & Transition

Colwin Williams
Cure Violence Philadelphia

Length: 2 hr. 15 min.

Colwin Williams has had a difficult past, but he has not let his past predict his future. As a Supervisor of the Street Team for Cure Violence Philadelphia he has been working on crime prevention and community building with traditional law enforcement. During this session Colwin will share his personal perspective and experiences in working on the streets of Philadelphia, tying  in the issues that lead to violence such as high unemployment, poverty, and unstructured time. His goal is to support people to de-escalate before trouble ensues, and lead people on the path of employment and sustainability.

Colwin Williams began getting in trouble in school, had spent years in and out of jail by his early 20s, and was sentence to almost 20 years in prison two months after his 25th birthday. Colwin recounts rough times — and a close call — during his incarceration. This served as the catalyst for him to turn his life around. Today, Colwin, 52, is a spokesman and Street Supervisor for Cure Violence Philadelphia, an anti-violence nonprofit that takes a public health approach to combating gun violence throughout the city. “I do it to heal, I do it for self, I do it to make amends to my family, to make my children proud,” he said of his work. “I feel like I’ve got to that point that enough is enough, and I must be enough. My actions must show enough… It’s about me, my existence being a part of the process of what’s necessary to change circumstance.” He spends his time working to change the circumstances of communities affected by gun violence, and mentors a group of about 15 young adults ages 15 to 25 who are “at risk” for violent behavior. The father of two young girls – Aisha, 5 years old and Asha, 2 – Colwin says, “I don’t know why God got me here, but I know it’s for a reason, and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m in the process of figuring it out. I know that it’s mandatory that I embrace each day.”