Asked how to prevent violence in Evanston, residents say they want to offer more mentorship programs, increase job opportunities and create more programs for parents.
Those ideas are among 16 different proposals to come out of a community meeting Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl hosted Oct. 2, following the shooting death of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman.
Some 400 people packed the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center for the public discussion that night, meeting in small groups to share their ideas, then reporting back to everyone.
Related: Nonviolence Meeting Brings Hundreds After Dajae’s Death
Following the meeting, city staff gathered the input to determine major themes among the ideas proposed. They then posted the ideas discussed online at the city’s “Engage Evanston” website. The site allows community members to post their own ideas, comment on ideas that have already been shared and track progress on implementing proposals.
Some of the ideas residents came up with include:
- Community dinners so residents can get to know their neighbors, held at community centers or schools around Evanston.
- Mentorship programs to provide role models for teens and young adults.
- Classes for parents on everything from how to care for an infant to how to help your child apply for college—with special programs for single parents or teen parents.
- Improve the relationship between the police department and the community with more police on foot and bike controls, neighborhood watch programs, etc.
- Bring in groups like CeaseFire to teach conflict resolution, or have schools teach conflict resolution as part of their curriculum.
- Improve transportation for teens and young adults so they don’t have to be out walking on the streets, especially late at night.
- Improve the city’s safety infrastructure with street lights, surveillance cameras and more emergency phones.
- Invest in programs to understand and combat gangs. Bring former gang members into the schools to talk about their experiences.
- Schools should teach teens more vocational skills, and the city could subsidize volunteer work for young adults without a job.
For the full list, visit the Engage Evanston website.