Aisha Oliver and teens create Austin Safety Action Plan against gun violence

CHICAGO (WLS) – A community leader from Austin is partnering with youth to fight gun violence by creating a “safe zone” and organizing events to reclaim the surrounding area from gun violence. violence.

“I know I can’t stop everything but I do know that there are different possibilities to warp what we see,” said community leader Aisha Oliver.

Oliver, a resident of the Austin, Chicago neighborhood, said she is no stranger to gun violence. She says she’s spent years mentoring youth in her community to help fix that problem.

Oliver and about 10 teens she mentors came up with the Austin Safe Action Plan to help tackle gun violence.

According to the city’s Violence Reduction Panel, there were 37 fatal shootings in the vicinity between January 1, 2021 and July 21, 2021.

“Instead of waiting for help, we created help for ourselves. That meant identifying what the problems were, how they were affected, and some of the ideas they had to come up with. so we don’t see the same Oliver said.

Lester Bradford, one of the teens who created the Austin Safe Action Plan, said he lost three people in just one week.

“We grew up tough. So we know what it’s like,” Bradford said. “So this year, this summer has been terrible, a lot of people die and not even really adults. It’s really kids our age that we know.”

The safety plan includes a safe zone at Austin Town Hall Park, where the team holds basketball tournaments every Thursday to reclaim their neighborhood from violence.

Darian German, a teenager from the Austin community, said: “A lot of people are on the street, they used to love this sport, like basketball. So we’re trying to bring them closer together. each other more”. .

The safe area where tournaments take place will be manned by nearby organizations such as Austin City Hall and the Austin Branch Library. The goal of the action plan is to engage the community in positive and constructive ways. The events will run until mid-August.

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Huynh Nguyen

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