Cutler-Orosi is Fighting Gang Violence

March 12, 2008 7:12:20 PM PDT
Students have been passing out these fliers around campus, trying to get everyone involved in Wednesday's gang summit.People will be tossing around ideas about how to target at-risk youth, get children involved in other activities besides gangs so they can turn this community around.

Organizers spent the afternoon setting up for Cutler-Orosi's "Step Up" gang summit Wednesday night. Local community groups, county officials and students have been preparing for the event for weeks. They expect up to 15-hundred people to attend the meeting, including many students.

Korina Vasquez, Orosi High School Student: "We're really hoping that tonight's even will really help the community it's gotten really bad over the years, really bad."

Korina Vasquez and Maira Renteria have created a special page on the networking website, MySpace, to tell more students about the summit. The site sends positive messages about stopping gang violence. Many leave comments encouraging the community to get involved in solving the gang problem. The students say they are sick of the almost weekly gang fights at their high school.

Maira Renteria, Orosi High School Student: "We have police all the time wandering us and they're mostly focusing on the gangs than our school so it kind of affects us too and we're just worried about you know what's going to happen next here."

Vasquez: "Hopefully it'll get better and to see that there's something better else for you to do than fighting for just colors."

Cutler-Orosi has had their share of gang violence, including a gang shooting outside of Golden Valley Elementary School last May that put the school on lockdown.

South Valley authorities have tried to increase anti-gang efforts over the last few months. County leaders say Cutler-Orosi has wanted to hold a gang summit here for a long time.

Steven Worthley, Tulare Co. Supervisor: "We think that there's a great interest in this community that they have for themselves recognizing that they have a serious problem and they really want to do something about it."

People will hear from a former gang member about his struggle to get out of a gang. Officials here stress meeting is about the parents and making sure they're keeping an eye on their children.


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