MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Public Schools students are taking a stand against the violence plaguing Milwaukee that's often committed by their peers. Seniors from Riverside University High School presented a crime prevention initiative to city leaders on Wednesday, Jan. 24.
The entire effort is based on the idea that violence spreads just like trash. With help from their teachers and mentors, the students said they hope to inspire others to clean up the streets, literally and figuratively, to make Milwaukee a better place.
"I just hope with you guys' permission, we will be able to put this change into effect and stop the trash from spreading around our city," said a Riverside student.
Six seniors from Riverside shared their collaborative solution to Milwaukee's crime problem with the city's Community and Economic Development Committee.
"This is an effort to keep our city clean of the metaphorical trash that pollutes the streets of our community," said a Riverside student.
"It means cleaning drug dealers off the streets. It means cleaning prostitutes from their corner and bettering their lives," said a Riverside student.
Called, "Help Keep MKE Clean," the initiative hits close to home for many of the young women. That's in part why they want to make a difference.
With help from their classroom mentor, Khalil Coleman, a community activist, the first order of business is to plan awareness events at the Victory Over Violence Park, off Martin Luther King Drive and Center.
"Young people are the future. I mean, we look at most of the violence that takes place, most of it affects young people between 15 and 20-something," said Coleman.
The ultimate goal is to encourage residents to clean up the streets now, before the trash spreads to their homes.
"Far too many people avoid social issues until they have been personally impacted," said a Riverside student.
It's a vision that Common Council members unanimously approved Wednesday afternoon, voting to move forward with making "Help Keep MKE Clean" an official city program.
"Hopefully your service can spread like fire," Coleman said.