CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– Week after week we’re reporting on incidents of gun violence affecting families, parents, kids and our entire community, but change is happening in the midst of it all.
The City of Champaign’s community relations specialist Mary Catherine Roberson gave a full recap of all the good being done at the Champaign County Coalition meeting Wednesday.
For starters, she announced almost 700 kids took part in programs. Youth development was a huge focus this year. From the Champaign school district’s “LIFT” program to afterschool sports, and fun activities that snuck in teaching leadership and problem-solving skills along the way.
A Community Violence Response Team was created in 2021 and so was a coalition subcommittee, that opened up tough conversations about race relations.
“When you talk about issues of race, poverty, police reform, COVID-19, challenges with our school system and kids being at home, and historic, record levels of gun violence — and to see, as a community, what we’ve done to come together to combat this — I think we should say, ‘Good job. Well done, community,'” added Tracy Parsons, the city’s community relations manager & compliance officer.
Another big focus area was police-community relations. That’s the core of the coalition’s mission. The heads of the largest county law enforcement agencies provided updates, including the latest gun violence statistics and their own initiatives, at each monthly meeting.
That’s just naming a few of the efforts made in the last year. Parsons says the bulk of the work is still ahead.
The coalition will meet again after the new year.