Compiled by Courier Staff
The Peace for Change Alliance, Inc. and Urban Grass Roots hosted its follow-up to the Stop the Violence Youth Summit called “Bridging the Gap” on Sat., Jan. 28 at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center. This is the second time that the group has organized a forum that allows youth and public officials to meet and collaborate ideas and plans on addressing violence in the city.
“The first time that we got together several months ago was a brainstorming type of forum. This time the Summit was geared at discussing solutions. Individuals who participated the first time were asked to come back with some action plans.” Priscilla Coggs-Jones, president of Urban Grass Roots Inc. shared.
“We were pleased with the 150 plus people who came to witness adults and youth working together on how to reduce crime in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” Tracey Dent, president of Peace for Change Alliance Inc. added.
The ages of the youth who participated in Saturday’s event ranged from 15-19 years-old, and was held from 2:00 pm until 6:00 in the evening. The daylong event featured various entertainment; singing performances from Voices of a Fatherless Child, tumbling by the Milwaukee Flyer Tumbling Team, dancing performed by the Nefarteri Dance Company, and a anti bullying skit performed under the direction of Dorothy Green Productions. The entertainment was designed to inspire the youth in addition to exposing them to different types of artistic activities that they could perhaps choose to be a part of in the future.
Participants from other youth organizations were also represented at the Summit; The Running Rebels, an organization that has a long and successful history of working with at-risk youth. Norma Balentine, of Safe and Sound and of course the venue that hosted the event the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, nestled in the neighborhood of West Lawn Housing has a long successful history of working with youth as well.
Solutions were the focus of this second forum for the youth and public officials. The goal of the Summit is to attack violence in the city from a collaborative effort from those that help to make policy and those that are often disrupting policy through violence. This type of forum allows youth to express their views on the causes of and solutions for violence. At last week’s forum there was an opportunity for youth to speak out and share testimony on how they are affected by violence.
Some projects announced by public officials included: State Representative Elizabeth M Coggs: Young Women Health Fair, State Representative Dale Kooyenga: Financial Literacy workshops for Teens, County Supervisor Michael Mayo Sr.: Youth Day, Alderwoman Milele Coggs: Dirty Jeans- Teen Day of Service, Judge Derek Mosley: I Pledge Milwaukee (Teens & Adults Volunteer Campaign).
Other Public officials who are working on Bridging the Gap projects are: State Representative Barbara Toles, County Supervisor Eyon Biddle, Sr. County Supervisor Nikiya Q Harris, County Supervisor Willie Johnson, Jr., Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Robert G Donovan and Project Manager of Safe & Sound Norma Balentine.
In the coming weeks, a full list of the Bridging the Gap projects will be made to the public.