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North Rapid youth hopes to build coalition to address community violence

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - After recent tragic events in the north Rapid City area, there is a growing sense of optimism, as different members of the community come together to try to find solutions to some of the problems that plague the neighborhood.

It may seem like morale in the North Rapid community would suffer, after a summer of tragedy in neighborhoods like Knollwood townhouses. However, where there’s despair, there’s also a determination to build a better future among the youth of the community.

Jonathan Old Horse, pastor at Woyatan Lutheran Church said that last weekend’s march for peace was a positive step forward in forming bonds that can address issues of violence.

“What happened on Sunday was reliving the quote from Sitting Bull where he said, ‘Let’s put our minds together and see what kind of life we can give for our children.’ That’s the more important thing,” Old Horse said. “We can argue about land and those other very important things, but our children are at stake.”

Old Horse said that he’s encouraged by the bonds that are beginning to form between the indigenous community and the Rapid City Police Department.

Tyler Read, a community engagement specialist with the Rapid City Police Department, said that it’s important for city officials to let the youth of the community know that they’re not alone, and give them the resources to make a difference.

“The ultimate goal is when we find these people in the community who want to make a change, and they’re going to be the change, we just need to provide them with the resources that they need to empower themselves and their neighbors to stand up to things like this,” Read said.

The Wambli Ska Teens Center was essential in organizing this past Sunday’s march. They want to let the youth of the community know that it’s a safe place they can go if they find themselves in a difficult situation.

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