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Marquette University’s O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism hosted “Healing the legacy of violence” last week at No Studios. Based on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Cycles of Violence” series by Ashley Luthern, the conference featured community leaders and family members who have lost loved ones to violence. Among the powerful speakers was Shannon Allen, whose son, DeAndre, was killed more than two years ago, on the day after Christmas. He was 27.
It is my opinion that in order to reduce violence in Milwaukee we must take back our communities.
A lot of times violence happens in our communities, and the first thing we do is move out of our neighborhoods to an area that we feel is safer.
But what good does that do when the same individuals that ran you out your old neighborhood come into your new neighborhood?
Law enforcement, the DA’s office, city officials, community leaders/advocates and Milwaukee communities must come together as one and form a partnership that cannot be broken.
Everyone mentioned should be held accountable for their part in making Milwaukee safe again. If you start a stop-the-violence initiative, don’t just limit it to Burleigh, Center, Clarke, Fond du Lac areas. It must go beyond those areas, for example, to the entire South Side, North Side, East Side, West Side and Downtown Milwaukee.
By partnering together, we have a better chance of finding out what works and what doesn’t. Personally, all areas in the City of Milwaukee should be considered the “hot spot” because violence does not have a certain color or certain area. It’s happening every day, all day, throughout Milwaukee.
We need to tackle such issues as poverty, mental health, sex trafficking, AODA, unemployment, firearms and a lack of education, just to name a few. We must break these cycles, start knocking down these barriers, and we must stand together as one.