MILWAUKEE — Coming off of a violent weekend in Milwaukee, where at least 20 people were shot and a 13-year-old died, a local school is standing up against violence, participating in a series of workshops designed to empower youth to make better decisions.
- 3 killed, 20+ shot in violent weekend in Milwaukee
- 13-year-old girl killed in triple shooting at 5th and Rogers
“It’s a choice that they've made. And if we can change their mindset, then that's a victory right there,” said Tracey Dent, with Peace for Change Alliance.
To help stop the spike in crime in our area, leaders at Milwaukee Excellence Charter School are hosting Victory Over Violence Week.
It’s an initiative spearheaded by local organization Peace for Change Alliance to spark awareness and encourage high schoolers to stand together, rather than fight.
“That's why we continue to keep pushing, and it can't just be a one-time thing. It has to be ongoing, persistent, and we have to be relentless about this,” said Rodney Lynk, Jr., CEO and Chief Academic Officer, Milwaukee Excellence Charter School.
While Monday’s workshop focused on reckless driving, organizer Tracey Dent says hosting the event just hours after a 13-year-old Milwaukee girl was shot and killed only makes the fire inside him burn brighter to keep fighting.
“It's out of control. And hopefully this can be one vehicle going towards some kind of solution,” said Dent.
Milwaukee Excellence freshmen Rena Ellis and Nathaniel Alston say they grew up surrounded by gun violence and couldn’t stand the thought of not doing something to stop it.
“I live in an environment where people hear bullets like it’s background noise. This organization can change their mindset and see that stuff is really dangerous, and it's important, you know, not get involved,” said Alston.
“I feel like if I can be that one person to join a group, maybe others will follow me and we can, as a community, bring each other back up,” said Ellis.
“If they change and say, ‘I don't want to do this no more.’ We're winning the battle,” said Dent.
Other workshops the students will participate in this week include sexual violence, cyber bullying and gun violence, leading up to a walk to the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue on May 1, marking the start of Violence Prevention Month in Milwaukee.