KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Several groups who work on the east side of Kansas City met Wednesday to spread one message. The group thinks the 9 p.m. curfew, the city and police are talking about enacting after three teens were shot last weekend outside a popular restaurant on the Plaza, won't fix the violence problem.
The group thinks city leaders need to address the east side violence first otherwise it will continue to spread. The group wants more funding to secure activity centers, programs, and methods to motivate the community and give teens something to do.
Brandon Ellington, who now runs the Voices of the People, also ran for a city council spot last election. He lost but continues to work to help the area where he grew up the east side of Kansas City.
"The magic invisible line that sits at Troost Avenue has eroded and the violence that has plagued the inner-city is now and will continue to infect Kansas City until the root causes are addressed. This culture of violence is going to spread that's why we called it we want the mayor and City Council to do what they said and do what they said they would when they running all of them talked about public safety," said Ellington. "Since the council and new mayor have taken office we have seen no attention being paid to east side of Kansas City. The Plaza, Westport, Power and Light and Zona Rosa are vital to the survival and image of Kansas City for years these locations have remained unstained from the violence and bloodshed that has occurred on the east side of Kansas City."
Jason Broom who works with the organization Stop All Violence Everywhere (SAVE) agrees that a curfew won't fix it. He said they need to get to the teens that live around violence every day and work with them first.
"What we need is for people to reach out to high risk individuals before the crime happens, we need more activities for these young people to get into to instead of telling them what they can't do," said Broom.
Ester Holcendorf, who works with consolidated social work services in the Third District, wants to see the vacant houses cleaned up and used for transitional homes, reading rooms, resource centers anything that might give teens positive things to do with their time.
"We are not in any way down playing the violence that happened on the Plaza while and the mayor and some others were there as it occurred and just think for a moment there are people that live in that type of violence every day, here in the Third District, those of us who work here, live here and shop here. I don't care what your social economic background is - everybody is a human being and everyone needs help, and we need to work together to make Kansas City they city that we know it can be," said Holcendorf.