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STRIVING TO KEEP THE PEACE

STRIVING TO KEEP THE PEACE

By Jennifer Cowick A Stop the Violence meeting took place at St. Paul United Methodist Church on September 20th. The meeting was put together by ACT, a local group and stands for Accept responsibility, Collaborate, and Take action. Hostess of the function and Pastor of St. Paul, Felicia Hopkins, was there to welcome guests and start the evening off with an inspiring prayer. Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Williams, Visionary of ACT, Pastor Chad Mitchell, Abilene Police Chief Standridge, and Taylor County District Attorney Jim Hicks were among the speakers. {{more}} The theme was one of building bridges and keeping lines of communication open between all levels of Law Enforcement and the community itself. In this way we would all be able to work together to address issues of crime in Abilene as well as questions or concerns on how these issues are being handled by the Law Enforcement Agencies. While most of us would probably agree that stronger more effective law enforcement tactics are part of the solution to keeping crime levels down; I think we would all agree that it is not the entire solution. At this particular meeting, some of these other topics and possible solutions were addressed also. CUADDO Chairman Anthony Williams Jr. was on hand as well was Sharon Owens, a Social Worker and Equity Specialist for the organization. They spoke on the other issues that effect and, all too often, define how any given city may be responding to crime and other social issues in the community; such as poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment, and the like. Disproportionality and Disparity refer to the discrepancy, inconsistency, imbalance, or the over or-under representation of a given population or group. These groups are often being defined by racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds, or even by national origin, English proficiency, and gender. Addressing this end of the problem and discussing it openly provided this STOP THE VIOLENCE meeting with a balance that would seem to speak more clearly of a movement that strives to achieve and maintain peace. The message that, there is something that all of us can do, was a strong one. And was echoed by Linda Carleton, representative of The Abilene Dinner Table. “How do you love your neighbor?” She asked. “The best way is by trusting them and the only way to trust someone is to get to know them.” The Abilene Dinner Table, assisted by the Junior League of Abilene sponsors meals to encourage people from different zip codes and backgrounds to connect; in the belief that these kinds of activities will foster a greater understanding and a theme of care and compassion across our community. All in all the meeting was successful in that it invited all members of the community to “come to the table” as it were and encouraged everyone to find a role within our community. That in some way, big or small, we can all help to promote and achieve conditions in our city, that are not only safe, but just and fair to all its people.

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