Community mentorship

Public safety has become a pressing issue in Minneapolis. Since George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day, violence is up, and public morale is down. The crime problem is primarily in the 3rd and 4th Precincts, but everyone living in Southwest Minneapolis is catching the debris. The saddest part is that many of the people committing crimes and being hurt or killed are young people. Now is the time to remember that it takes a village to raise a child and figure out how we can help be part of solutions.

Some community organizations in the city already are doing that. One of those is A Mother’s Love, led by Lisa Clemons, who has a simple mission: “If you save a mother, you save a child. If you save a father, you save the family. If you save the family, you save a community.” On Oct. 21, Clemons and other community leaders spoke at a public safety forum hosted by the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA). All of them agreed that we need all hands on deck to address the trauma that is impacting our communities. Young people need more positive role models, and mentorship can have positive ripple effects in their lives that create real, generational change.

To bring back that village mentality, LHENA is partnering with community mentorship programs in Minneapolis. The goal is to give Southwest Minneapolis residents an opportunity to become youth mentors and support the work of community mentorship programs. By bringing people together from different neighborhoods and walks of life, we can build that village all children need. In these times, it’s easy to feel cynical. But fight those urges. We decide the future, and we hope you’ll join us to increase the peace and create more opportunities and justice for all.

Eric Ortiz is on the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association board and a member of LHENA’s public safety and racial justice committee.