On Saturday, March 14th, State Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) hosted Unite Milwaukee, an anti-violence summit connecting Milwaukee community members to the resources they need to help prevent violence in their neighborhoods. The day-long summit had over 130 attendees from neighborhoods across Milwaukee and included everyday neighbors, youth, faith and organizational leaders.
“I was so impressed with our community’s turnout to this summit and their dedication to making a difference in their own neighborhoods,” stated Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd. “The summit, which was created through the collaboration of Milwaukee community members, allowed for Milwaukee citizens to brainstorm tangible steps to take to prevent violence in their neighborhoods.”
The summit planning began in September of 2014, in response to a July listening session that Senator Harris Dodd held with community members about the devastating gun violence happening in Milwaukee. Together, the individuals who attended that meeting have met to create the summit for Milwaukee community members most affected by gun violence in their day-to-day lives.
“I’m proud of the work that our planning members have done to produce this summit, which provided the community with an overview of the systemic causes of gun violence and also give them realistic steps that they can take to stand up to violence in their neighborhoods,” explained Senator Harris Dodd. “I think we really began to build a community coalition to prevent violence on Saturday, and I hope that this summit is just one step in many to addressing violence in our community.”
The summit, which started at 8am on Saturday, featured speakers who touched on topics such as social factors that contribute to violence as well as strategies to addressing violence on every block. Speakers included faith leaders, police captains, community members, and leaders from employment and job resource organizations. In the coming weeks, Senator Harris Dodd will be generating a report to the public on the results of the brainstorming among participants during Saturday’s summit.