September 01, 2005

Violence Coalition Launched in Richmond

By Fred H. Arm
After considerable publicity and a substantial outcry by the citizenry about the horrific murder rate in Richmond, the movers and shakers in Richmond attended a Coalition On Violence conference that was held on August 8th at Kaiser’s conference hall.

At the meeting, an impressive array of dignitaries and helper organizations attended, consisting of local government offices, such as George Miller's Office, John Gioa's Office, the Sheriff's Office, Neighborhood Councils, Mayor Anderson's Office, City Council people, various non-profit entities that are engaged in preventing violence and helping youths find their way in Richmond, several physicians, the Chamber of Commerce, religious leaders, teachers, psychologists, the Chief of Police, probation officers, Parks and Recreation, and many others.

After hearing exceptional and scholarly presentations from each of the participants, it seems that a viable coalition will soon be born consisting of very highly competent and motivated people. This coalition seems to be based on substantially the same type of plan I recently proposed and envisioned at the Richmond Parks and Recreation Retreat that surprisingly seems to be coming into fruition. Talk about coincidences.

As this plan progresses, hopefully there will be room for other interested concerned citizens and experienced staff to come aboard. As this coalition commences working as a coordinated strategic alliance, it will no doubt allow the evolution of an effective powerhouse to become a lot more accomplished and grow at a higher rate of speed than simply to throw money at hiring more police.

Beefing up law enforce is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many social, familial, psychological, and educational modalities that need to be reformed and to move forward in concert to really make a difference. This crime problem is merely symptomatic of a far greater malignancy than simply arresting more criminals. It has its roots dating back to World War II, when women first left the home to enter into the workplace; when divorces became more commonplace; when welfare started to become a way of life; and when schools, teachers, parents and people were no longer respected or honored.

Once upon a time, the military draft gave young men a place to go through a sort of rite of passage and gave them a foundation to become valuable citizens. Instead, today, gangs have taken up the slack and have become the supportive “family” to both young men and young women, setting standards that accept violence as the solution. Homicide is often seen as the preferred resolution to many situations without the respect, remorse, or fear that societies once held as a model for appropriate human behavior
Many young men feel they will not reach their thirties without being killed or disabled by gunfire. We can no longer survive or tolerate such an anomaly. I sincerely hope that this Coalition will provide the beginning of a healing that our society desperately needs and wants. We can make a difference. We need only the right people, the proper motivation, patience, and understanding, together with deliberate action to make it become a reality rather than just simply another idea.

I would appreciate any comments or input to help make this become a reality.

Posted by fredarm at 01:03 PM