MINNEAPOLIS - Community members in Minneapolis are actively working to stop the violence after a violent 24 hours over the weekend.
The Minneapolis police chief says she has added more resources to protect the Minneapolis' Warehouse District. The Hennepin County Attorney has sent “nuisance property” letters to business owners. And now we are hearing from community members about what they are doing, what we can do, to stop the violence.
“It’s kind of easy to get drawn into being with the wrong crowd,” said Larry McKenzie, Minneapolis North boys basketball coach and Pillsbury United Communities volunteer. McKenzie is known for his years as a coach in Minnesota high school basketball programs.
McKenzie also calls himself a community mentor, who uses the game of basketball to reach kids.
“Unfortunately for a lot of our kids they get into situations that it becomes survival. Once you begin to survive you start to take chances instead of making choices,” said McKenzie.
He says he works to help kids before they have no options.
He says many kids have no role models to show them things like how to apply for a job, build a resume or do something to get them out of a tough situation.
And he’s made it his life’s work to make sure he can help as many kids as he can.
“Making sure kids are aware that if you really go to school, you do the things you can do regardless of your family situation. This is an opportunity to break that curse or whatever is going on in the family,” said McKenzie.
And he isn’t the only one reaching out to young people before it’s too late.
He says there are others. But he says there’s a need for more people to show kids how to be successful and how to live a life off the streets.
“You could be different than your father, your uncle, your cousins so that’s the message we’re constantly trying to communicate to these kids,” said McKenzie.
If you want to get involved but don't know how, McKenzie is encouraging people to reach out to their community center, The Boys and Girls Club, schools – and ask -- what can I do to help?
The goal is to be there for young people and keep them from going down the wrong path.