- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Local youth leaders and community activists yesterday met with D.C. Council members to seek funding and garner support for grass-roots efforts aimed at curbing youth violence.

“We are here to let the media and public know what has been done is not enough to put a dent in the problems in our communities,” said Ronald Moten, co-founder of the D.C.-based Peaceoholics Inc.

Representatives of the Alliance for Concerned Men, Barrios Unidos and Peaceoholics met with council members David A. Catania, at-large Republican; council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat; Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat; and Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, to discuss successes and potential partnerships.

Group leaders said poverty and unemployment still plague D.C. neighborhoods, though the homicide rate is down 18 percent from last year.

Peaceoholics members Tony Stover, 18, a recent graduate of Eastern High School, said the need for community groups working with youths far exceeds the need for more arrests and police initiatives to combat crime.

“In order to secure real change in this city, they need people that are going to relate to them,” he said.

Tyrone Parker, executive director for the Alliance of Concerned Men, which negotiated a truce in a Benning Terrace gang war that spawned nearly 60 deaths in the late 1990s, said his group receives minimal government funding through city contracts and collaborations.

“That’s what we’re here to strategize,” he said.

Mr. Parker said that despite a surge in female gangs, gang warfare is no longer a major problem in the District. Programs such as those that help teenagers obtain driver’s licenses, deal with outstanding warrants and find jobs are responsible for the success and deserve more funding, he said.

Mrs. Cropp, a mayoral candidate, said the Alliance of Concerned Men and other programs will be evaluated to determine whether they deserve city funding.

Gary Emerling

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