birthday cake, fruit punch, and kids playing on the swings, this ceasefire at
the Washington Park Community Center
was a celebration of the life of Dwayne Buchanan, and not a time to grieve.
mother Paula Hallden says "I wanted to come here to have a celebration with all
the community, with who everyone who knew (Dwayne) and loved him, and wanted to
be with him to celebrate his birthday."
would have turned nineteen on April 9th. His mother Paula reflects
on the impact he had on the community, as he was in the process of turning his
life around prior to his murder. "The more the people come around they can tell
me the stories and the love they had for my son and that makes me happy inside."
Dwayne's brother James
Hallden moved out of Rockford
to escape the city's crime. He looks at the cease fire as his way of saying
goodbye to Buchanan. James Hallden of Belvidere
says" I didn't go to his funeral because I did not want that to be my last way
of seeing (Dwayne.)"
Community leaders are
to stop the violence. They believe the solution starts with residents speaking
up. "By coming together and being a voice, you know sometimes we sit at home,
we sit back and we do not say anything. We just say well it's their business,
let them handle it, but really it's all of our communities, it's our children
that's dying everyday and we need to take control of it by coming out of our
houses and being a voice." Said Theresa Davenport, Supervisor of Ceasefire.
Paula Hallden agrees.
She says there is no pain worst then burying your own child.