By: Kristen Barbaresi
Posted: April 27th, 2021
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — Homicides and non-fatal shootings are up compared to this time last year, and city leaders are sounding the alarm.
Tuesday there was an emergency meeting between Milwaukee police, the Office of Violence Prevention and community groups.
“This has to be an investment we all make in to our future and our young people,” said Dawn Barnett, co-executive director of Running Rebels.
Running Rebels provides mentoring and programs for teens and is one of the community groups that came together Tuesday, April 27, to figure out solutions to the violence.
“We keep doing everything that we can to make sure they feel safe, seen, heard and connected,” Barnett said.
One of the challenges is many kids have been isolated, bored and stressed during the pandemic. The hope is that this summer more community groups will be able to reopen programs.
“One of the things we do is go door-to-door and talk to residents and see kids and we see families, I think we just want to make the connection so we can drive youth in to quality programming this summer,” said Joe’Mar Hooper, the executive director of Safe and Sound.
Hooper also attended Tuesday’s meeting. He says violence prevention has to be front and center.
“With the new [Acting Milwaukee Police] Chief Norman coming in, I think he’s really bringing that community engagement mindset and the mindset that we are all partners in this,” Hooper said.
Barnett says mentors at Running Rebels are talking to teens about conflict resolution.
“Paying special attention to those high risk situations that our young people find themselves in and really helping them have a game plan,” Barnett said. “Have a plan for how they’re going to interact in those types of situations.”
Hooper says as we slowly come out of the pandemic, he wants teens to know it will get better.
“I think we just let them know there is hope,” Hooper said.
Each week Safe and Sound puts out a flyer about the programs available for teens.
If parents or interested or groups want to be added, you can find it here.