K.G. Wilson had reached his breaking point.
After eight years of canvassing the streets, calling out drug dealers and regularly attending candlelight vigils to demand an end to violence, the former gangbanger turned peacemaker decided to call it quits last month. Wilson said he wasn’t getting the support he needed from community figures, elected officials and church leaders. It was also getting expensive. Sometimes he had trouble paying for the gas he needed to drive to vigils, he said.
“It just was hard,” Wilson said, in a phone interview Wednesday night. “It was just really hard on me.”
So he published a post on his Facebook wall saying that he had retired. Wilson said he even considered moving back to Chicago where he’s from.
But it wasn't long before Wilson began to doubt his decision.
Last Saturday, when 26-year-old Adelaida Sadd was found shot to death in a duplex in north Minneapolis, Wilson didn’t go out to the scene like he normally would.
“I couldn’t sleep at all that night because I knew I was supposed to be there… I just believe that that’s my job to be there man,” Wilson said.
The next couple days, after speaking to supporters which included the mothers of slain victims who he had helped console in the past and seeing a news report about his retirement, Wilson decided to return to his post.
On Wednesday night, he wrote on Facebook, “TODAY I HAVE GOTTEN A TEARFUL 'CHANGE OF HEART' THEREFORE AS OF TODAY I RETURN TO MY POST HERE IN MPLS, MN. AS A ACTIVE SERVANT TO MY COMMUNITY, I APOLOGIZE TO ALL WHO WERE HURT BY MY BRIEF DEPARTURE, BUT NOW THAT THE RAIN IS GONE I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW, SO IF YOU DONT MIND I'LL BE 'BACK ON THE BLOCK' SERVING AND SHOWING UNCONDITIONAL LOVE TO ALL SUPPORTERS AND HATERS..."
In the 1980s and 1990s, Wilson was a Black Gangster Disciples gang leader on Chicago’s South Side. Around the year 2000, Wilson moved to Minnesota and had battled with the law until 2006. Since then, he has tried to make amends by being a vocal opponent of gangs, drugs and violence. Wilson is known to call out to gang members and drug dealers using a bullhorn on the streets. He is also often seen at vigils in camouflage gear preaching for non-violence.
“I just wanted to show this community that this is real for me,” Wilson said.
Wilson was back out at the scene Wednesday of another fatal Minneapolis shooting to comfort neighbors.
“I just want to be there for these families,” Wilson said.
He plans to hold a vigil for Sadd on Saturday.
Check out a video interview of Wilson we did a few years back.