Heal the Hood event focusing on ending violence and crime

NOW: Heal the Hood event focusing on ending violence and crime

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The ninth annual Heal the Hood Block Party and resource fair Saturday brought community members together to deal with the important topic of ending violence and crime in the community.

This comes after two separate shootings in Milwaukee Friday night and early Saturday resulting in one death and the other leaving a woman and four-year-old boy in the hospital. Both incidents are under investigation. They are one of many incidents prompting renewed concerns about violence in the city.

Heal the Hood organizers say the goal of their efforts is to promote self-sustainability and non-violence and bring everyone together for a conversation on ending violence and crime.

The event took place on N. 9th St. and W. Ring St. and included resources from community organizations, live music, free food and more.

"The model of Healing the Hood is to focus on healing the heart, healing the homes and healing the hood. We can't deal with our problems as a community until we deal with our home issues and that starts with dealing with the person in the mirror. It's about creating space for healthy relationships to be built. It's about partnership and it's truly about community," said Ajamou Butler, the founder of Heal the Hood.

"It's such a message of healing that needs to happen in the community right now given the crime rate and safety issues that we have in the city. It's great to bring people together in a peaceful way to begin to talk about solutions," said Alderwoman Milele Coggs of the 6th District.

"This is not just a one entity thing where one office can solve all of the violence. It's making sure that we're building those partnerships, building those collaborations that are necessary," said Jamaal Smith, the community violence prevention manager for the City of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention.

"All of you need to come together as one like we did now as one and let us do what we're doing now," said Alex Balwin, an attendee of the event.

Community leaders say we all have a role in creating change.

"It's about everybody playing a specific role into curbing violence and so we need more economic opportunities in the community. We need more truly impactful programs, more social emotional programming. Kids in the hood deal with so much emotional trauma and have no way to express it or no way to get it out and so that's why you get acts of violence in such terrible random fashions. I think we need a better educational system in Milwaukee, that's a huge thing. Being able to build functional adults who have the capacity to question the world around them who have the logical capacity and the creative capacity to deal with the world around them," said Butler.

"Everybody who pulls a trigger is somebody's son or daughter. Everybody who is a victim or survivor of crime is somebody's son or daughter. If we began to treat each other more like family and more like our sons and daughters and value the life that we each have, I think things would begin to change," said Coggs.

The event presented by Heal the Hood Milwaukee is sponsored by the Milwaukee Health Department Office of Violence Prevention’s 414 LIFE Team, African American Roundtable, Alderwoman Coggs and the City of Milwaukee.

Heal the Hood will have a Back to School Block Party at the Running Rebels facility on 13th and Fond Du Lac on Aug. 28.

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