“I was once the shooter, now I advocate against the shooting.”
Those are the words of former “Blood” gang member Shanduke McPhatter, who left behind a life of crime to make a positive impact in communities of need.
“That is proof in itself that change is possible,” McPhatter went on to tell a crowd gathered outside of New York’s City Hall to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King on what would have been the icon’s 87th birthday.
McPhatter is the founder of the New York nonprofit Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes, or G.M.A.C.C. Through his organization, which was founded in 2012 and is currently based in Brooklyn, McPhatter and his dedicated team work to combat gun violence and make positive changes in the lives of those impacted by it most in cities across the nation.
The Huffington Post spent the day with McPhatter when he delivered those powerful words to the crowd in a city where more than half of shootings involved gangs last year. We spoke with community members who regularly confront the troubling effects of gang and gun violence and documented the many ways they, along with McPhatter, are working to help end it. This is their story.
This video was edited by Terence Krey, shot by Jon Strauss and produced by Skylar Wesby, Liz Martinez and Choyce Miller for HuffPost Originals.
Also on HuffPost: