With the large number of convenience stores in the city, it can be challenging for store owners and community members to make meaningful connections. Yet the “Know Your Neighbor” event that took place on March 22nd, 2016 at the Neighborhood House showed that the interest and commitment is there for these entities to work together as the meeting room filled with attendees. This event was collaboratively hosted by the Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance, and the 27th Street West Drug-Free Communities Coalition.
“Due to the high volume of businesses that sell alcohol and tobacco in many Milwaukee neighborhoods, it’s especially important that businesses are responsible tenants in the communities they serve,” Elena Burke from 27th Street West Drug-Free Coalition stated. “The fact that so many business owners showed up by choice, is extremely encouraging.”
Plans for the work shop were informed by ongoing interviews with stakeholders from law enforcement, business owners, community leaders and youth. This particular workshop featured roundtable discussions on laws/ policies and best practices around Alcohol, Tobacco, Crime Prevention through Environmental Change and Law Enforcement, which were led by community leaders and experts. Following the roundtable discussions, there was a resource fair highlighting services beneficial to retail business owners.
Organizers state that the conversation will not stop with today’s event. Burke shared, “This workshop is another step in creating dialogue between various community entities, which will lead to healthier and safer communities. Our coalitions are collectively working together to bridge the gap.”