Tulsans Take Action To End Gang Violence

Tuesday, March 20th 2007, 7:24 pm
By: News On 6

Eleven shooting victims are still recovering from last weekend's drive-by shooting at a Tulsa park. Community leaders from pastors to politicians are demanding an end to gang violence. Shots rang out in Crawford Park, and a chorus of outraged community leaders followed, but News On 6’s Ashli Sims reports it wasn't the first time for the violence or the rhetoric.

"What we need to stop doing is a lot of talking,” said Corinice Wilson of Tulsa Youth Intervention Project. “It's about action."

And that's what Wilson is about, taking action. She heads up the Tulsa Youth Intervention Project and was part of the Mayor's Gang Summit six months ago. She says the summit wasn't just talk, dozens of folks are actively working to prevent gangs and reclaim Tulsa's young people even if it's not always visible.

"A lot of the work that we do, and with our staff, you're not going to see their face because they are on the street. And truly gaining the confidence of the youth that we serve," said Wilson. "You're not going to see."

Wilson says her staff, including Martin Ramos, have worked with more than 200 kids in the last year.

“We have four wonderful outreach staff members that are on the ground,” she said. "When I say intense, they're on call 24 hours a day."

Mayor Kathy Taylor's mentoring initiative also grew out of the summit. The program has trained 150 volunteers so far.

A $40,000 grant from Bank of America put mentors into three Tulsa Public Schools and two Union schools identified as high risk for gang activity. It's effecting more than 160 kids. Wilson says it's a start, but last weekend shows it's not enough.

"Often through tragedy brings an opportunity where people are galvanized and want to work," she said.

Related Stories:

3/17/2007 Gunmen Loose After Drive-By Shooting

3/18/2007 Park Attack Prompts Meeting

3/19/2007 Community Leaders Seek Action After Weekend Shooting