Pledge For Peace is More Than Words
Omaha, NE - Young and old, north Omaha, south Omaha, student leaders and community leaders, the Omaha 360 Challenge Pledge for Peace is spreading across the city.
The Empowerment Network wrote the pledge in September. Sixty community organizations have signed it. After the murder of Benson High School student Eriana Carr last month, students from Benson, South, Papillion La Vista South and other Omaha high schools signed the pledge and asked their classmates to sign.
The pledge is a commitment to help end violence, by becoming a mentor, adopting a school or joining a neighborhood association, citizen patrol or neighborhood watch. "Our youth need to see that the institutions, the government agencies, the adults, that we're serious about this peace pledge," said Empowerment Network President Willie Barney. "It's not just the pledge, it's what actions we take."
Tuesday, Barney and Omaha City Council member Ben Gray asked the Douglas County Commissioners to adopt the pledge.
Barney told the board that since the Empowerment Network started six years ago, there has been a 51% reduction in gun assaults in some neighborhoods. Barney says there is a direct link between violence and unemployment, "It sounds crazy in Omaha where we have 3.8% unemployment, but unless we deal with those neighborhoods and those zip codes where the unemployment rate is as high as 25-30%, we will continue to have various issues."
The Omaha Board of Education and the Omaha City Council will also be asked to sign the pledge. "Violence is an Omaha problem that needs to be addressed," Gray told county commissioners.
To sign or sign the pledge, go to http://empoweromaha.com.