"Stop The Violence" Rally in Decatur Draws Hundreds - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

"Stop The Violence" Rally in Decatur Draws Hundreds

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Hundreds of people gathered in Decatur for a Stop the Violence rally.

Jameson Wheeler has been a part of Stop the Violence for more than a decade.

"I've been connected to this ministry since I was 10 years old, and been working the festival since I was twelve," said Wheeler.

Wheeler and his mother lived in a drug infested apartment complex.  Bad influences were at every corner.

"The people that were around me on a consistent basis, my role models, were the drug dealers," said Wheeler.  "My role models were people that were coming into the apartment place and getting my mom's money."

Just as he began falling for temptations, a new role model showed up on the block.  Apostle Jessie Bates of the Ambassadors for Christ's Ministries.  Bates has been at the head of several Stop the Violence rallies in Decatur.

"The homicides.  All the violence that was going forth," said Bates.  "One young man dead.  Another young man going to prison.  That's what inspired me."

Wheeler said, "He was preaching, and I'll never forget it, he had a high top fade with Jesus in the back of his head and I actually sat close to the stage so I could look at his haircut."

Wheeler was enthralled by Bates' message of peace, togetherness, and the power of God.

"I believe what causes for people to Stop the Violence is to see that there are so many people here from different neighborhoods and different areas that might not necessarily like each other," said Bates.  "But because people can come together and have fun and the environment is safe, then it inspires people to say well i don't have to live the way I've been living."

How Wheeler spends most of his time now?

"I'm actually the youth pastor at our church," said Bates.

Making sure the next generation has a happy ending like his.  

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