A group of local organizations gathered earlier this week in the first meeting of the Columbus Empowerment Network. The goal of the Network is to “find answers to solving crime and addressing other social problems such as poverty”
Co-founder of Cure Violence Columbus Reggie Lewis says the collaborative group is more than just giving people a platform to speak, but giving them a platform to get involved.
“The idea is to have the community at the table to be a part of the solution and prioritization, and then be a part of the team to address those issues together instead of us as decision makers doing something for them that we think they need.”
According to Lewis and Crawford, similar groups like this are having success in other cities in the country.
“Other cities do it. Omaha, Nebraska has done it. They’ve been very successful at it. But everybody’s at the table. So that is what we’re looking for is for people to come and talk to us and be involved in this process. Not just to talk, but to really truly be involved and be invested in our City,” Lewis said.
The first sessions were held Oct. 24 and the Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives for the Georgia Center for Opportunity, Josh Crawford, said everyone from representatives of nonprofit organizations to individuals impacted by violence were at the session, but they are encouraging more people from the community to get involved in the upcoming meetings.
“A breakdown in public safety or an increase in violence is not an inevitability. These are problems that can be solved, that cities all over the country have dealt with and addressed these problems and that Columbus is no different,” said Crawford.
You can read the full brief “Reducing Crime In Columbus” from the Georgia Center for Opportunity here.
A similar report has been produced for Atlanta.