FOLLOW/CONNECT
Ricardo "Cobe" Williams works as a national trainer for the anti-violence
organization CeaseFire. Cobe travels the country -- including New Orleans,
Philadelphia, New York and Oakland -- to train Violence Interrupters,
individuals who, like Cobe, are formerly of the street and now work to
mediate disputes in their communities. For four years, Cobe, himself,
worked as a Violence Interrupter in Englewood on Chicago's South Side.
His work and his personal journey was chronicled in the award-winning film
The Interrupters which premiered at Sundance and aired on PBS's
FRONTLINE in January of 2012 as a two-hour special. It was picked as
one of the best films of 2011 by The New Yorker, The Chicago Tribune,
Entertainment Weekly and The LA Times.
One film critic wrote that the work of Cobe and his two colleagues also profiled in the film, is "heroically life affirming." Another called it
"inspiring." Cobe has made scores of appearances to talk about the film -- and to participate in discussions after screenings. He received
The Hero Award from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and has been recognized by the Mayor of Milwaukee, Chicago State University and the
University of Illinois-at-Chicago for his work. He's spoken at various venues, including the U.S. Capital, the United Nations, the American Bar
Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, as well as at numerous colleges, including the University of Notre Dame, the University of
Iowa, Loyola University, the University of Chicago and Northeastern. He's also appeared at high schools and at juvenile detention centers
around the country.

Cobe grew up in Englewood, a community marked by deep poverty and persistent violence. When Cobe was 11, his father was murdered.
The loss had a profound impact on Cobe who went on to emulate his dad's lifestyle. As a young man, Cobe spent three stints in prison for
drug related charges and attempted murder, but during his final stay he made a decision that he wanted and needed to be there for his own
son. In 2007, soon after his release, he hired on at CeaseFire. He now lives in a Chicago suburb with his wife Andrea, who's a nurse, and
their four children.
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