South Bend Mayor announces initiative to combat violence
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Rising gun violence continues to be a worry for communities across the country. Here in Michiana, rallies and marches are planned for the coming days to bring people together to demand a change in gun legislation.
However, a response from Mayor James Mueller will implement a long-term change to combat the rise in violence.
“Praise be to God we’ve never had a mass shooting in our city. Let’s work hard together to make sure we never have a mass shooting in our city," says Pastor Jonathan Miller from Faith Alive Ministries.
Right now, putting a stop to gun violence is top of mind for many leaders and activists nationwide, and here locally.
“There’s a lot of anxiety with what’s going on across the nation; the focus on the mass shootings that have an uptick this year," says South Bend Mayor James Mueller.
Besides the rallies and marches happening in the coming days across Michiana, including South Bend, Mayor James Mueller unveiled a new initiative that will span throughout the summer.
“We need to respond to that, and we needed to share that; one, there’s hope," says the Mayor. "We are a community that’s united, we are a community that’s welcoming to everybody, and we can get through these challenges together.”
The initiative will target the youth of South Bend by connecting them with opportunities to set them up for success and keep them out of trouble.
“They must stop the disruptive behavior; acts of violence are not acceptable," says Karen White from the South Bend Common Council. "However, we must show them and help them discover that there’s a better way.”
Community organizations are all rallying together to be a part of the change.
“South Bend P.A.L. is an organization and program that works where police officers work as coaches and mentors to our youth," says Captain David Herron, the coordinator for the South Bend Police Athletic League.
“Wherever the teens are, we’re going to them," Stephanie Steward-Bridges from South Bend Venues, Parks, and Arts says. "If they’re at Howard Park, if they’re at Lasalle Park, if they’re at Kennedy, we’re going to go to those places and do activities with the teens.”
“The new downtown library, it's expansion. There’s an incredible range of programming; a whole area just dedicated solely for teens," says Willow Wetherall, Executive Director for Downtown South Bend.
They know these resources alone won't solve the issue of gun violence, but all agree, that this is a good start.
“We know that’s not enough, because there’s still a lot of need in our community," the Mayor says. "So we hope that there will be new partners coming forward, new people, community members volunteering their time and making sure that we have the resources there so that our youth can be successful.”
Resources mentioned in the press conference: