Faith leaders try different approach to "take back" the streets of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- "Take back our streets." That is the message of the Outpouring Ministry Network's Cease Fire 2016. The five-day event near 22nd and Center focuses on a statistically high-crime area in Milwaukee. But this group in particular is trying a different approach.

Outpouring Ministry Network has a goal for people living in the 53206 zip code.

"We've been going door-to-door, passing out cards -- and anyone that will talk to us, we've been talking to them," said Dr. Tony Whitley Jr., pastor for Resurrection Life Worship Center.

The cards advertise Cease Fire 2016 -- happening nearby, put on by local churches and pastors.

"It's been overwhelming," said Bishop Randolph Nichols of Solomon's Temple Ministries. "We've had a young man actually come in and turn in his guns and accept Christ into his life."

Bishop Nichols said the response they have seen so far shows him those in the city want to change. While he said the five-day event has a lot to do with it, there is more to it.

"We've walked probably 12 , 13 , 14 blocks, just walking and talking to people," Nichols said.

"I notice that people are really responding to the fact there is somebody in place that's willing to make a difference and they can be a part of that difference," said Nancy Yarbrough, executive director of Fresh Start Learning.

At times, that has meant talking to people about real issues and leading them to resources.

"We've had the opportunity to minister to a couple of young men that were addicted to heroin. We had some gang affiliation people we ministered to," Whitley said.

It's an opportunity to show they are here -- and they care.

Each night of Cease Fire 2016, there is a different theme or focus.

On Wednesday, July 13th it was "Take back our streets. Thursday is "Stop human trafficking." The pastors plan to continue the community outreach and neighborhood canvassing long after this event.