“Peace on the Streets” of Omaha

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May 24th, 2011

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Hundreds of North O residents filled Fontenelle Park (Photo by Angel Martin)

Omaha, NE – The summer months in Omaha bring warm temperatures, sunny days, and, often, more violence around the city. As summer vacation kicks off for many students in the city, one community organization wants to make sure this summer is safe for everyone.

Entertainment host Reggie Clark greeted over one hundred North Omaha residents on Saturday at the “Peace on the Streets” concert. “Look around at your brothers and sisters one more time,” he told the crowd. “Get to recognize your family that’s out here in the park. It don’t stop here, it starts right here. Love and peace Omaha, Nebraska.”

The group filled Fontenelle Park in North Omaha for the third annual “Peace on the Streets” event. It was an afternoon of food, games, and music from the local band the Last Few and national violinist Daniel D. Janette Taylor is the executive director for Impact One, which helped sponsor the event. She says the group plans to keep youth off the streets by keeping them busy.

National violinist Daniel D. performs with the local group the Last Few at Saturday's "Peace on the Streets Concert" (Photo by Angel Martin)

“This summer we actually put a lot of energy and thought into holding a lot of events for them,” she said, “and this is the first of many.” Taylor added, “We want to have activities for them to do this summer, and keep them busy, and we also have our summer jobs program that’s going to kick off in June.”

In 2009, Taylor says her group employed 150 at-risk youth. Last year 250 were employed, and this year she says she plans to reach 300.

Patrick Jones is an Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He says events like these are a very small piece of a very huge problem for the impoverished North Omaha.

“That violence is rooted in a structural situation of inequality,” Jones said. “So if we really want to address those issues, to minimize violence for instance in the community, then we really have to be serious about getting at those root causes of poverty.”

Organizers say they plans to host more public events this summer (Photo by Angel Martin)

For now, the journey toward keeping peace in Omaha continues with harmony in mind. “Peace on the Streets” was part of “Harmony Week” which features other safety-minded events throughout this week.

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