Angela’s guest column was printed in the Denver Post on June 24th. You can view the column on the Denver Post here.
Stopping the Violence
Are we owning the violence that grips Denver? Have we made it personal enough to prompt collective action from our entire community?
The emotion of my young cousin’s death to the gunfire laying siege on Denver is still raw. [Editor's note: On March 23, Tamoi Millan Elliott, 25, was stopped at a red light on East Montview Boulevard and Dayton Street in Aurora when he was shot and killed.]
Each day, I wait for our city to step up in a way that will truly put a stop to these senseless acts.
Because Denver is better than this … smarter. We must tap into crafting creative solutions centered firmly in a citywide philosophy of safety, awareness, prevention, jobs, intervention, inclusiveness and education.
This is why last week, I called an emergency meeting of the Mile High City’s “Five P’s”: parents, police, preachers, politicians and the public. The meeting was held June 20 under the banner of the 2012 Gang Violence Initiative Community meeting, and included city of Denver and police officials, among others.
Our community pillars should be unified and ready to implement change. But, more importantly, it’s time to tap into the true potential of our young people and to engage them academically, intellectually and spiritually.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing the crisis. We are not looking for conventional thinking or solutions that are the most convenient for the mentor, or the easiest to put in motion. It won’t be easy, but our young people deserve the heavy lift.
We need innovative solutions that will fundamentally change and alter their lives. Empower our children by providing an opportunity to bring them closer to realizing a truly successful, productive and fruitful life.
Not only should we identify and strengthen existing programs, but we should also pursue newer ones that can face our budgetary challenges while engaging our kids. A real solution is multi-faceted and nurturing, and it includes a public/private partnership, from collaboration with the multitude of public, private and for-profit colleges and universities in Denver to finding ways to plug our children into a diverse range of programs that are doing more than simply filling up time.
Denver is the village that raises the child, a rich intersection of science, technology, the arts, music and an unlimited array of small to large businesses, educational institutions and museums — all eager for the chance to give back.
This is our Denver moment. Let’s discover the leaders of our tomorrow, expose them to newer possibilities and the chance at being model citizens and stewards of our community. Not only will we stop the violence, but we’ll manage to make Denver an even better place, too.
State Rep. Angela Williams represents House District 7 and lives in the Stapleton neighborhood.