With the recent violence in our area we reached out to a Rockford activist pushing for a better future in this area.
How we as a community can help shape the future of Rockford and move forward from the past.
"The first thing to do to create a safe haven is to recognize that police, are not bad," said New Zion Baptist Church Associate Minister, Brandon Russell.
Russell says in order to see change we need to be the source of change, by getting to know our law enforcement, our firefighters, city alderman, it'll help promote that change.
If that doesn't work? Then start at the root of the problem by getting involved in city politics.
"It's time for you to raise up and become an alderman of your own community if you want that change. Do you know your alderman?" said Russell. "Are they worthy of calling and making shots in your neighborhood. If not, then lets rally around some, raise up our own, get them voted in so they can have a say and really make a change."
Transform Rockford Executive Director Mike Schablaske says its also important to help connect people to the right opportunities to get involved in our community.
"We need to embrace that we need to be a peaceful community," said Schablaske. "That is how we resolve issues that we have and part of that is restoring hope that personally there's something more important then the conflict or whatever it is that we are going through at the moment."
Schablaske says people who are frustrated with the recent violence can turn that anger into something productive.
There are dozens of local agencies and organizations that need others to help them in their missions.
"If we can find away to collaborate and partner with organizations who are doing well, if we can find ways to do that and find some consistence with it, I think the community will see a great improvement," said Rockford Housing Authority Community Development Manager, Deryk Hayes.
Getting involved, changing for the better, all ways leaders say Rockford can unite and move forward.
"We can't have East Rockford, South Rockford, West Rockford and North Rockford, that's one of the problems but the truth of the matter is we are all Rockford, until we can come together as Rockford or we will always be divided," said Hayes.
If you would like to get involved and help with the future of this city, log onto Transform Rockford's website: http://transformrockford.org/