Columbia city officials and police officers are teaming up April 3-8 for National Youth Violence Prevention Week.
“This is something we can do that’s proactive, not reactive,” Columbia City Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine said. “People get upset, they want to march and do things when something horrendous happens, but don’t always think about what we should have been doing on the front end to prevent these things.”
Each day of the week will have a different event, including:
▪ Gospel music by community youth at Dutch Square; 421 Bush River Road, from 4-6 p.m. April 3.
▪ An expo on fun summer activities and mentoring programs at Dutch Square; 421 Bush River Road, from 6-8 p.m. April 4.
▪ A seminar on how to interact with law enforcement; at Eau Claire Print Building; 3907 Ensor Ave., from 6-8 p.m. April 5.
▪ Operation R.I.S.K. (Rescuing Inner City Students and Kids), a police department initiative to build community relationships; at City Hall, 1737 Main St., from 6-8 p.m. April 6.
▪ A panel on the aftermath of youth violence; at Earlewood Community Center, 1113 Parkside Drive, from 6-8 p.m. April 7.
▪ Basketball games between community youth and police officers; at Hyatt Park, 950 Jackson Ave., from 6-9 p.m. April 8.
“Worldwide, especially in the U.S., the gap is widening and distancing between police and our citizens,” said Columbia Lt. Ron Felder. “What we’re trying to do is regain the confidence we have lost and reassure the ones we haven’t lost that we’re still here to protect and serve.”