Columbia task force on community violence seeks public input

Jun 12, 2014

Credit Madeline Dufek / KBIA

Members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Violence will help a local drill team find a home. During last night’s meeting at City Hall in Columbia, task force co-chair and Second Ward councilman Michael Trapp pushed to make helping the Highsteppers the force’s third formal recommendation.

The Highsteppers lost their former rehearsal space at Hickman High School in Columbia after neighbors complained about the noise. The drill team has been “homeless,” according to task force member Pam Hardin, ever since.

Some task force member expressed concern over formally supporting one specific organization. Member Cindy Garrett fears this will open a door to other small programs in the community requesting support from the task force.

“If you start individualizing and supporting one program, do you then have all these other programs that disbanded, or whatever, start getting the ear at different members and say, ‘hey will you take this one?’ So are we opening a door,” Garrett said.

Trapp disagreed with Garrett, saying supporting small programs will benefit in the long run.

“The smaller they are, the more actionable they are. I think we might be recommending specific programs that exist. I think it’s okay we endure that because then we can evaluate and see what kind of community support there is,” Trapp said.

The majority of the group agreed with Trapp in wanting to start helping young people now, in any way they can. Trapp asked if the recommendation had unanimous support, and adjourned the meeting at hearing no objections.

The task force also wishes for more community support on the subject of community violence. They discussed ways to entice more Columbia residents to come to meetings and the upcoming forums.

The task force will be having three community forums, called “Let’s Talk CoMo,” each directed at a specific group, one toward parents, one toward students and one toward the entire Columbia community. The forums will take place in the beginning of September of this year.

Member Chris Campbell urges community members to come speak their voice at the meetings. 

“We want to see a change. We want to hear the people’s voice. We don’t want to just have our own voice, and tell you our opinions. We want the people to come out and say what they want,” Campbell said.

The task force meets the second Wednesday of every month at City Hall in Columbia.