Fort Wayne City Council members dedicated their entire session Tuesday to discussing a new anti-violence plan called "Bridges to a Better Community."
Members of the Fort Wayne Urban League created it in response to the near record number of killings in the city this year.
The plan a large amount of data on the disparity between races when it comes to poverty, education, and crime, and specific recommendations on how to reduce violence.
Laleta McClure has been involved in designing the vision for the plan since day one, and is the team leader for the post-secondary education and skills team. She says the first step towards a solution for troubled youth is a simple one. She says it takes “totally empowering, totally getting involved, uplifting young people and letting them know that you seriously care. And we have to listen, we have to listen to their stories, we have to listen.”
Strong male role models in the community were consistently referred to as a key component to success of curbing crime.
The plan aims to increase trust and communication between the community and law enforcement and address economic development on the southeast side of town. Some councilmen noted that poverty and unemployment are strongly correlated with crime rates.
Fort Wayne was recently awarded a grant from the National League of Cities which provides a year of technical assistance to use this data more effectively in addressing disparities between black males and their peers.