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Standing Together Against Violence - One Rapid City neighborhood is fighting back the old-fashioned way - with a block party

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 5:36 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 12:02 AM CDT
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Rapid City, S.D. (KOTA) - Taking a strong stand against neighborhood violence is the theme to a community block party Wednesday night (tomorrow night) at the Knollwood Townhouses, 1721 N. Maple Avenue.

The block party will feature food, games and a strong message against neighborhood violence, according to organizers. The event is scheduled from 5-7:30 p.m. and open to the community at large. The block party is hosted by numerous community groups including I.Am.Legacy, Monument Health, Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board, Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors, the City’s Human Relations Commission, ELEVATE Rapid City and others.

The purpose of the block party is to show community support for the residents living in the neighborhood area of Knollwood Townhouses. The area has been the scene of numerous crimes in recent years, including multiple homicides in recent weeks. The event will also connect neighbors in the area with community resources that provide mental health support and mentoring.

“This neighborhood needs to know where they stand,” said Mayor Steve Allender. “In the last few weeks, there’s bene a number of shootings there. This is a tragic scenario that plays out year after year. We are raising children in a neighborhood where violence is ignored, where violence has become a part of life and that creates a bad precedent for the next generation of people.

“It is time for us to take a stand against violence.”

The issues affecting the Knollwood neighborhood area impacts the community and event organizers say it’s the community the can help foster change.

“Policing alone is not working,” said Erik Brings White of I.Am.Legacy. “Our community must meet some of these desires for change at least part way. That’s how these changes will become self-sustaining. That’s how our community will become safer and more just. This isn’t a north side problem. It isn’t a Native American problem. We didn’t create none of this. We didn’t ask for none of this. We don’t deserve any of this. This is an opportunity for more of us to come to the table and add our voices to these solutions.

“That’s all we want to do is help. I think it’s time our community stops taking sides. We become vested in our community. Let’s see what discipline and unity can bring.”

Tyler Read, community engagement coordinator for the Rapid City Police Department, said the solutions to violence can be found in the community.

“The police department, the city, they can’t do all the heavy lifting on this,” said Read. “The community needs to be a part of this, all of the community. And there are solutions. I’ve seen it in action. Please come out and show these kids and these families that we do care, that we are invested in them, and their voice matters and their safety matters.”

Various community organizations and groups are assisting with food, water, games and other resources for the event.

Parking is available at North Middle School and drivers will also be guided to other parking options near the block party venue.

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