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Neighborhood groups fight youth violence

Rachael Riley organizes a march; Ron McMillan recruits for Peacekeepers
Steve Bell
Rachael Riley organizes a march; Ron McMillan recruits for Peacekeepers

By Steve Bell

Kansas City, MO – Rachael Riley lost a teenage son to a drive-by shooter. Ron McMillan worked with AIDS victims till he felt the need was greater in the inner city. Riley helped found the 24th Street Marchers. McMillan joined Rev. Wallace Hartsfeld in starting Peacekeepers. Though their composition and tactics are different, each group works to end the insanity of gun violence among youth. Both agree that in addition to neighborhood solidarity and better police-community bonds there are additional needs. The 24th Street group would like to see an area skill center where young people could get additional job training. McMillan cites the need for job opportunities for young men and for recently released convicts who want to "go straight." He also endorses the "Boston Model" from the book Good Cops by David A. Harris. The stepped-up police-community program drastically reduced gun violence in Boston after a 162-homicide year. An important factor was an effort to get unlicensed guns off the streets.

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