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‘Stand’ rally held to bring awareness to teen violence

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 8:25 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Violent crimes continue to rise among Wichita’s youth, and community leaders have had enough.

Local churches and Wichita police held a rally called “Stand” this afternoon in hopes that it will inspire people to help teens who may be at risk of becoming a victim or an offender. It’s a call to action from police, churches, and community leaders Saturday to reduce the amount of youth violence in Wichita. It’s an issue that hits close to home for people like Emony plumber.

Plumber stated, “I personally have a best friend I recently just lost to a shooting. It was hurtful. It’s still hurtful.”

Shootings and other violent crimes are at an all-time high among minors. Whether they’re the victims or the suspects, it’s what the Wichita police department’s juvenile intervention unit is working to combat.

Officer D.I. Watson of WPD says, “it seems like every day there’s a shooting. I mean, we just had one yesterday. Our goal is to go out and do what we can and get to the root problem of what’s going on. Because throwing these kids in jail is not working, putting them on probation is not working. So let’s change the mentalities of some of these kids.”

Watson was just one speaker at Saturday’s ‘Stand Rally.’ Watson says he hopes events like this inspire community members to take action if they see a teenager headed down the wrong path.

“We’ve partnered with several churches, outreach groups, to go out and be the eyes and the ears and get into some of the neighborhoods and living rooms of some of these kids,” stated Watson.

Brought together by music, dancing, and prayer, hundreds of people attended Saturday’s rally to inspire change and work towards a safer city. Officer Watson says it’ll take more than police to solve this problem of youth violence in Wichita, but the community to work together to change the mindset of kids and teenagers who may be at risk.

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