MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With the recent rash of gun violence, that left more than 30 people shot and 4 dead, the community is looking for answers on how to stop it.
Thursday Miami-Dade Police announced their “Operation Summer Heat” plan, where police departments county-wide work together, increasing presence and going after violent offenders.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is putting forward her 90 million dollars “Peace and Prosperity” plan to fight gun violence with prevention and intervention.
“I am sick and tired of our communities being overlooked by our local government,” said Trina Harris with “Touching Miami with Love.” She and other grassroots organizations are banding together and looking for funding, to battle gun violence in their own communities.
“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this situation,” said Lyle Muhammad with Circle of Brotherhood. “And with the money coming into the community right now from the federal level, we just want government to know we’re watching,” he said.
The collaboration of groups is known as “The Healing and Justice Coalition.” They tell CBS4 they know the community best from the ground level and have the best chance of making a meaningful difference.
“We have to make a change. There are too many deaths in our community. Continuing to fund organizations that aren’t on the ground doing the work, that know the community, that are on streets dealing with the shooters, that’s a problem,” Harris said.
She gives an example of youth programs, saying she many traditional plans are not hitting the mark. “These program are not going to target youth that are pulling out AK 47’s and spraying down parties and banquet halls. Those youth are not interested in coming to a program for 8 hours a day. It’s not happening,” she said.
She feels change will come from members of the community — working close to home. “Hiring the community, hiring folks that can mediate situations before they start,” she suggested. “Ex-offenders, folks that need to be employed, that need a third or fourth chance, that can’t get a job right now, that can relate to those individuals that can squash some of the beef that can get to that the root of the issues that are happening on the street,” she said.
“They are not listening to community-based solutions, public safety is different when it comes to people in urban communities, you can’t just increase the number of police,” said Dr. Armen Henderson. He is a physician at UM. He believes the most effective way to fight gun violence is to look at it as a health issue. “We are thoroughly ready. We have epidemiologists, we have social workers, we have case managers, we have therapists, we have everybody we need on board to make sure this initiative is successful,” he said.
The mayor sent a statement saying, “We are looking at ways to leverage the ARP dollars to support gun violence prevention in our community. The Peace and Prosperity Plan is a component of a larger effort, working with community, government, law enforcement, and service providers to confront the causes and symptoms of the gun violence epidemic and build safer, more prosperous neighborhoods for all Miami-Dade families. We can’t tackle this deep-seated challenge without the organizations who have been working for years on this issue and we need to continue finding resources to support their important work.”
Mayor Levine Cava’s “Peace and Prosperity” plan is going before the Health Emergency Management Committee on June 8th. At some point, the entire commission will have to vote on it.