(KCPW News) The recent rise of gang violence in Salt Lake City has prompted one community activist to take action. Michael Clara of Poplar Grove is organizing a group called The Romero Alternative to help the community find answers to gang violence.
"We're going to as a community concentrate on the prevention side," says Clara. "Basically what we're doing is cataloging all of the things a child can do in our community. Basketball, football, little league, boy scouts, girl scouts, after school programs, whatever there is we're going to document all that and have it in one place."
Clara says it's important to have kids involved in activities that are likely to draw them away from gangs. He hopes the program will have made an impact by next summer, and says there are already businesses lined up to sponsor kids in activities that may be cost prohibitive.
Clara says there are three levels to stopping gang violence: prevention, intervention, and suppression – and the community can play an important role.
"I don't see us as a community getting too much into the intervention, I hope we don't have to because I understand that the city will do that part," says Clara. "Ours is prevention. Hopefully we avoid this road for a child having to do that. My concept is that we stigmatize gang involvement so much that they don't even want to be a part of it, and they don't have time to be a part of it."
Clara says the group will hold monthly meetings, which will eventually include classes to teach parents how to recognize the signs that a child that might be involved in gang activities.
To listen to a conversation with Clara, download a podcast of today's Public Square.