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Community and faith leaders refuse to turn their backs on the most dangerous neighborhoods of Salinas, Calif. These residents are standing up—walking, in fact—for parts of the city that many others have dismissed.
They are fighting gang violence without weapons, without patrol cars or prison bars. And they're doing it after sundown, when crime is at its peak.
Night Walkers have become a strong presence in communities struggling with poverty, drugs, and violence. Cities such as Boston, Mass.
So when the of fatal shootings rose in Salinas's eastside neighborhoods, reaching the state's highest homicide rates among to year-olds, the city decided to tackle the problem with partnership and good will. Together, they have ed with the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Naval Postgraduate School, and California State University of Monterey Bay in a "collaboration between business, the faith community, education, and government," said Dick Renard, ministry coordinator at Marketplace Meets Mission in Salinas.
The walkers are small groups of churchgoers, pastors, deacons, families, and community members—with at least one fluent Spanish speaker—who meet three or more times a week.
From about 6 p. Walkers wear white windbreakers and carry cards with a list of services available to the community by dialing 2—1—1. Each group is trained so they know how to best interact with community members and police as they determine what resources are needed.
Although not everyone is on board with the Night Walks, most feel they are a heartfelt effort to turn the violence around—a first step in a process to increase interaction and build strong community relationships. Neighborhood residents see the familiar faces of walkers who come back week after week and month after month, and understand this isn't just about charity. We're hoping neighbors feel they live in peace and are not trapped in their circumstances.
Salinas walks for life
There are other efforts to revive Salinas, such as Tatum's Gardenthe first Monterey County playground deed specifically for children with disabilities. And city officials continue to attend biweekly meetings with CASP, where they discuss sustainable antiviolence strategies with law enforcement leaders and department he.
In summer, kids are out playing, families are talking on the front stoop. People's friendly attitudes are on display as we pass by.
Nothing deters the walkers, who keep the faith, even after a shooting. They often return the following day, with more volunteers in tow. Visit YE4C: engage.
Friendly Faces Appear From Six to Midnight The walkers are small groups of churchgoers, pastors, deacons, families, and community members—with at least one fluent Spanish speaker—who meet three or more times a week. Report: Student Victimization in U. Just Launched! Redeed YE4C.