From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Kelvin Bass
(214) 467-0123
Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Community joins forces to combat youth violence

DALLAS -- Public officials, school districts, business groups and churches have joined area law enforcement entities to announce a planned response to youth-related violence. The "It's About Our Community" campaign is a combined effort representing the cities of Cedar Hill, Dallas, DeSoto, Duncanville, and Lancaster. This public/private partnership was formed with the goal of creating a countywide, unified approach in providing a safe atmosphere for area schools and communities. A press conference will take place Wednesday, November 9, 2005 at the Dallas City Hall - Flag Room (6th Floor) at 12:00 p.m.

"Our Dallas County students deserve safe schools. Our parents need to feel secure that when their child leaves home, there's a more than reasonable expectation that he or she will return and return unharmed," said State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas). "Too many recent occurrences have jeopardized that sense of security. For those few individuals who wish to disrupt and endanger our communities, the message is that those actions will not be tolerated in Dallas County."

The "It's About Our Community" campaign represents a comprehensive approach that employs plans developed with input from school, law enforcement and community-based groups. It seeks the support of parents, churches and the business community in the effort to root out sources of violence that threaten our communities. "It's About Our Community" includes plans to reward students and schools for good attendance and citizenship. Town Hall meetings have been scheduled throughout Dallas County in coming weeks and all area elected officials have been invited to participate.

Over a seven-day period last month, two young people lost their lives to senseless violence, all following sporting events. In the separate incidents, a total of nine youth were gunshot victims, one fatal. Days earlier, an 18-year-old had his dreams of college ended by a fatal, parking lot beating in downtown Dallas. Although none of the random outbreaks took place on school campuses, two involved high school students. The initial meeting of city and school officials, business and civic leaders was called within days.

"It's About Our Community" is a sustained effort that will depend on continued cooperation and community support. It really isn't about violence, "It's About Our Community." Together we can make Dallas County an even better place to live, learn, work and play.

For more information, please contact Senator West's office at 214-467-0123.