So, how to deal with the issue? That's a good question. Law enforcement has a role, but it's not sufficient. Schools -- yes -- and schools willing to provide a variety of programs that will inspire young people to stay in school, attend to their studies, and do what is right. It is a community issue that requires community solutions. That there were 150 or more people gathered on a nice June evening in a school cafeteria to listen to fellow citizens share ideas and solutions and ask questions was great.
I had the privilege of participating in the event -- I got to lead the discussion. I was pleased that people stuck to the topic and brought ideas and challenged the city (as a government entity and as a community itself) to raise money and spend it in ways that will bring our young people together for the common good. We heard last night from former gang members and from people who had been in prison, from parents of gang members, all hoping to find ways of changing the status quo. That the mayor wasn't there, that the school superintendent and the high school principles weren't there, that few clergy were there, is disappointing.
But those who came will be the pillars. I hope my own congregation can and will be, despite our smallness of size, a part of the solution.
You can read the full story in a Lompoc Record article by clicking here.