DENVER (CBS4) – In a matter of weeks several teenagers have been killed both in Denver and Aurora, a rise that community members are determined to put a stop to it. On Monday night, activists, faith leaders, community leaders and parents started a discussion.
“We are in a state of emergency,” Sharletta Evans said to the group.
It was the first step together to ending the recent rash of youth violence that took the lives of five teenagers in Denver and three in Aurora.
“We do not want another upheaval like 1992 like when I lost my 3-year-old son in a tragic drive-by shooting due to the excessive gang violence, the neglect of our city and waiting on being reactive instead of proactive,” she said.
Evans is among those who have experienced their own loss, and together they are demanding city officials in Denver and Aurora take more action, in the form of resources.
What they don’t want is more law enforcement. Instead they plan to take a more active role in policing the youth in their communities, calling it love enforcement.
A mission that will start with established safe zones across the metro area.
“A safe zone is space we are creating for our youth to feel safe they can come to an area basically a spot where they can be, where there will activates food resources available to them,” Doretta Tootle, Executive Director and Founder of the nonprofit Thelma’s Dream said.
Their fear as a group is if something isn’t done now, more lives will be lost and change they believe will start with those closest to the violence.
“Our communities need to work together and know our neighbors and know the kids in the neighborhood so we know when there’s something strange going on,” a community leader and mother told the group.
The plan to host their first Safe Zone this weekend, and are working to finalize details about time and location, we will provide that information as soon as it’s available.