MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee native Arnitta Holliman says she's ready to take on the challenge of making communities in the city safer after she was named the next Director of the Office of Violence Prevention.
"I am here and I'm committed to the work to see our city grow," said Holliman.
"She brings the right temperament and I think she is really really committed to working on issues like mental health issues, trauma issues, gun violence and we are very, very pleased that she's accepted this position," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Holliman says she's ready to get right to work to start addressing critical issues in the city, including the rise in gun violence.
"When someone is shot, be that fatal or non-fatal, it hits hard," said Holliman.
Taking a closer look at the gun violence issue in Milwaukee, TMJ4 found that as of May 19 of this year, the city has had 60 fatal shootings so far. During this time last year, the city had 59, according to records shared by the Milwaukee Police Department.
The number of non-fatal shootings is also up in the city. So far in 2021, there have been 289 non-fatal shootings, compared to 144 non-fatal shootings during the same time in 2020.
"We have to do an all-hands-on-deck approach, so together we can reverse that trend," said Holliman.
In order to combat the rise in gun violence, Holliman says she plans to focus on three main tactics:
- Continue to follow the Blueprint for Peace that OVP has already laid out.
- Create more partnerships in the city
- Address mental health in the community
"When the stigma is reduced around asking for help and receiving help, that is how we heal. I think we have our work cut out for us," she said.
Holliman also says being a Black woman in this type of role will give her the opportunity to raise more awareness against domestic violence.
"The violence that we are seeing is hugely interpersonal violence and domestic violence, and so as a woman, it's important to address those issues," she said.
Holliman adds that no matter what, she'll do whatever it takes to make sure Milwaukee becomes an even better place to live.
Holliman is filling the role previously held by Reggie Moore, who left the department to lead the Violence Prevention Policy Engagement department at the Medical College of Wisconsin's Comprehensive Injury Center.