MILWAUKEE -- A group trying to motivate community change has made its presence known at 1st St. and Keefe Ave. Thursday night in Milwaukee.
"This is amazing," said Shemika Pope, a neighbor.
TRUCE Team is in town ahead of a big event planned at the end of the month when a former New York city gang leader Nicky Cruz comes to Milwaukee to motivate the community to change.
"TRUCE is just an acronym. It means to reach urban communities everywhere," Patrick Dow, Nicky Cruz Outreach CEO.
A group of 20 from New York unloaded their truck and set up shop while about 100 local volunteers knocked on doors, stopped traffic, handed out flyers and held up signs to let neighbors know they were there.
"From what we've heard, Milwaukee really just has a problem right now with violence and poverty and despair and drugs in the inner city. We hear of reports like that we're ready just to come alongside of the city and serve," explained David Ham, a Pastor from New York.
They're bringing a message of hope that their own people walk away changed.
"They connect with us because we don't sugar coat. We don't dumb it down. It's like this is real stuff that we're going through. This is life. This is life and death on the streets," said Dow.
"Everything you hear is words of inspiration for the kids. It gives them something to look up to instead of talking about selling drugs, yah know things like that," said Pope.
The music draws people out of their homes while testimony from former drug dealers and addicts gets them to listen and sometimes relate.
"We tell our stories. We do it in the form of urban music in a way that the streets can understand the language," explained Dow.
25 minutes later the group says a prayer over the community before packing up and heading to the next intersection.
Nicky Cruz will be at the Milwaukee Theatre Saturday, July 30 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information text TRUCE to 41444 or click here.