Town hall meeting Thursday to combat Peoria violence

By WEEK Reporter

October 24, 2013 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 10:14 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- City leaders are trying to figure out the best way to combat crime in the River City.

"Just last week i saw a man on the street dead, gun shot wound to the back. It's crazy," said south side resident Anthony Mabry.

Olde Towne South Neighborhood Association President Lavetta Ricca said she is tired of waiting for solutions to the violence.

"Everyone tells us that the city doesn't care about us," Ricca said. "Well, we have to get over that and we have to show them we care about ourselves."

It is a message deeply heard and felt by Councilwoman Denise Moore who has been living on Peoria's south side for more than a decade. She firmly believes that it is time for the community to be the solution. Community engagement is the community's biggest weapon.

"When young people see that you care about how your community looks, and who comes into your community and the safety of your community, they pick up on that," Moore said. "They model our behavior. If we show we don't care, they won't care either."

"It hurts me every day when I wake up to see people dying like this," Mabry said. "It doesn't make sense. Let's give back to our community."

Moore will spearhead a town hall meeting Thursday at the Bethel United Methodist Church from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. She has called on more than 20 organizations that offer opportunities for Peoria residents to get involved.

"I decided to bring those two communities together, the community that's clamoring for more ways they can help and the agencies that are providing assistance in the community," Moore said. "This is not a meeting that's about talk. We've heard enough talk. Now it's time to do something."

"Volunteer to do things. volunteer to improve your neighborhood. That's what this meeting Thursday is," Ricca said.

Each attending organization will let the community know what services they offer or what help they are looking for whether it be tutors, mentors or volunteers.