Sheree Tait is a co-founder of Project Nehemiah Ceasefire in Cincinnati.
The increase in gun, gang and domestic violence in our city has reached epidemic levels. The age of both the victim and the offender is becoming younger. Faith-based, community, health and government groups are working diligently on solutions to this ever-growing problem that has not only affected our city, but the nation as a whole.
There is one common denominator in every city and community -- we need the community to speak out against the violence taking place in our own homes, on our blocks and in our neighborhoods.
One solution is the moral voice and engagement of those most affected. The community must speak out and stand up against the violence. Many of the homicide cases remain unsolved because those who witness these violent crimes have remained silent. The “keep silent, no snitch” code and lack of resources has fostered a continual increase in the violence and the loss of life.
Parents, Get Involved With Your Kids
Another solution is parent involvement. Our parents must become more actively involved in the child’s daily activities. Parents must know the child’s circle of influence, monitor their time outside, monitor their social media connections and access, monitor television and music access, meet with teachers, and use the many programs that are available to support them.
We understand that there are many parents who struggle to maintain or who lack understanding of how to successfully care for their children. However, there are many resources available to supply parents with the tools they need for the entire family to succeed.
Make Your Voice Heard
Finally, community engagement with faith, government, community, health and civic organizations is critical. In order to develop sustainable solutions together, the community must be at the table with the partners and groups that provide support and funding.
Often those who are making decisions for the communities that are most affected, have no firsthand knowledge of what is really going on in the community or what the people really need and want.
As difficult as it is to see this heightened level of violence in our communities, we must believe that there is hope. Every day, steps are being taken to address the proven root causes of violence, poverty and unemployment that continue to lead the list of systemic disparities in our nation.
When we all work together –the residents, faith leaders, business owners, school administrators, health professionals and police, we will be able to overpower and bind the “strongman” and reclaim our neighborhoods.
Project Nehemiah is a not-for-profit outreach ministry of the Church of the Living God whose mission is to rebuild family, faith and community. Our Ceasefire initiative confronts the causes of violence such as health disparities, social and economic injustices, joblessness and broken homes. We provide youth with positive alternatives through afterschool mentoring. We depend on private donations to assist with our efforts. If you want to make a contribution or want to volunteer with the many Project Nehemiah efforts, please call (513) 569-5664 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.