Following the deaths of 12 teenagers in Mobile due to gun violence so far in 2016, the mayor of Mobile is launching a new initiative to help put an end to teen violence.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a press conference Wednesday he is launching the Youth Empowered for Success (YES) Initiative that will endeavor to address the city’s greatest challenge — reversing the effects of violence and securing a bright future for all youth in the Port City.
“This year alone we have buried 12 teenagers in the city of Mobile — one is too many,” said Stimpson during the press conference. “As your mayor, my heart breaks for the families of those 12 teenagers and I hope your heart breaks also.”
Stimpson said Mobile will be the first mid-sized city to curtail this problem and make a promise and commitment to its children that they will all be empowered for success.
“This is a grassroots effort to make sure that we give back to the community what they deserve, the opportunity for their children to be successful and have the opportunity to live in their communities and be safe in their communities,” Mayor Stimpson continued.
Stimpson has structured the interagency program around seven functional areas assigned to various team leaders. Leading the initiative and the “Love” division is Mobile’s Assistant Chief of Police Lawrence Battiste.
The team will consist of the following:
- Hope: Faith-Based and Neighborhood Groups: to be determined
- Respect: Crime Prevention and Intervention: Curtis Graves
- Protection: Enforcement and Advocacy: Lt. Edward Elia
- Opportunity: Job Readiness: Anitra Henderson
- Fun: Enrichment, Recreation & Athletics: Terrance Smith – iTeam
- Resources: Grants: Laura Angle
“Other organizations have operated in silos,” Stimpson explained. “We want to tear down the walls of the silos. If we are successful, we will lower, if not eliminate youth violence in the city of Mobile, while also empowering our youth to succeed in life.”
Watch the press conference below: