Community gathers to learn more about violence prevention
Posted: 09/01/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Zina Kumok
About 100 people gathered at the event that was held in response to the fatal shooting of 7 year-old Kristyana Jackson, who was killed during a home invasion two weeks ago at her home at 720 Kilbourn St., Elkhart.
Jason Moreno was one of the organizers of the event, which included speakers such as Mayor Dick Moore, Sgt. Wayne Bias from the Elkhart Police Department and Rod Roberson, a member of the Elkhart City Council and the executive director of Church Community Services.
During the vigil held in honor of Jackson on Aug. 20, Moreno collected signatures for those who would be interested in attending a citywide forum on violence prevention. He got five pages of signatures. Moreno gave an introduction before the various panelists spoke, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and calling on citizens of Elkhart to come together with love.
While he does not live in Jackson’s neighborhood, Moreno said he hoped that the meeting would cause people to be more active and involved in their neighborhood. An Elkhart native who graduated from Indiana University South Bend, he studied civil rights in school.
“It opened my eyes to what good community organizing can do,” he said.
Jackson’s parents, John and Kimi, attended the forum, wearing white “R.I.P. Kristyana” T-shirts. John Jackson’s left arm was still in a sling. He was wounded during the home invasion that killed his daughter, but was treated and released from Elkhart General Hospital the night of the shooting.
People listened to the various speakers, who ranged from ministers to city council members. Bias said that when he talks to concerned citizens, they cite incidents where they didn’t call the police. He advised calling the police in any instance, no matter how small.
“It sends a message to the would-be criminals that neighbors will call,” he said.
He said criminals rely on people not calling the police if they see something suspicious. While crime statistics are down across the country, major events cause people to take notice.
Roberson encouraged people to get to know their neighbors. When he was growing up, Roberson said, people knew those who lived around them.
Juvenile magistrate Deborah Domine cited several causes as to why children wind up in her court. She said there is a strong link between truancy and violence, according to statistics. She also told parents to be good examples for their children, not to make excuses for their bad behavior, prevent teen pregnancy and to find good mental health treatment for children.