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Special to El Observador
Over 100 hundred San Jose residents gathered at the sixth annual Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force on Saturday. The summit, held at Mt. Pleasant High School, provided workshops and a resource fair opened to the public in hopes of creating a safer San Jose.
Mayor Chuck Reed along with other council members opened the ceremony emphasizing the need to continue the strong relationship amongst city leaders and community members in the battle against youth violence.“I’m in this fight for all these young people,” stated District 8 council member, Rose Herrera. “The word “gang” is associated with the word “problem” but I also want to say there is an opportunity…there’s an opportunity because we have young people that have potential,” said Herrera.
According to the Gang Prevention Task Force, 58% offenders of gang-related crimes are 19 years old or under.
San Jose resident, Diana Villareal-Munoz said she cancelled her Saturday breakfast plans for her children’s safe future. “I’m a single mother and a lot of these children, besides my own, are not being attended to because their parents need to work so they see gangs as another family member.” Villareal-Munoz stated although this was her first time attending the summit, she learned valuable information. “I’m going to continue to be involved because you need to put your family first.”
With Norteños and Sureños making up the vast majority of gang activity in San Jose, the Gang Task Prevention Force says its committed to improving the quality of life for its underage community members and providing programs to give young adults hope. Participants also received a goody bag filled with pamphlets of local resources for families and youth who seek any gang-related help or assistance.