Santa Monica’s Pico Youth & Family Center will host a Town Hall meeting on Youth Violence Prevention and Trauma this Thursday, June 20.
It will be held at 6 pm at the PYFC, which is located at 715 Pico Boulevard.
The meeting will be in response to recent shootings and gang related homicide. A shooting on June 7, which resulted in six deaths, was followed by two shooting incidents that killed one and seriously injured two.
Gil Verastegui’s death on June 11, marked the 60th time since 1986 that a family suffered a loss due to homicide.
The majority of these homicides occurred within an eight block “red zone” in the Pico Neighborhood.
Outraged residents are calling for an increased investment and solution to poverty and marginalization.
“Low income residents and communities of color are drowning in poverty amidst an ocean of wealth,” Pico neighborhood resident, Alex Aldana said. “Our city leaders must develop a larger vision to address the root cause of the violence instead of treating the symptoms with a limited direct service plan.”
SMMUSD Board of Education member Oscar de la Torre said that the recent tragic events serve as a wakeup call that Santa Monica must increase its efforts to curb youth and gang violence.
“The purpose of the Town Hall is to engage the community in a discussion on proactive policy solutions to violence prevention and trauma,” Oscar de la Torre said.
Francisco Juarez, PYFC Board Member and Vietnam Veteran, said that in response to recent tragedies, a renewed commitment to building a safer community must be carried through.
Thursday’s Town Hall meeting is open to the public.