COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Division of Police held a ‘Pathway to Greatness’ event Sunday at the Columbus Commons to connect with the city's youth.
Assistant Chief Lashanna Potts said she wants people to know that in Columbus, the police are different.
“We don’t want our youth for the only time for them to see us is when we are coming to a police-run, when they are having the worst day of their lives. We want them to not be afraid and know that we are a resource for them and we love them,” said Potts.
Columbus police officers, community activists and kids all talked about the effects of gun violence.
But it wasn’t all talk. The police wanted an event to also provide resources for families looking for help.
“What we are trying to do is cater to any obstacles our youth may have in order for them to be their best selves,” said Potts.
Dominic Jones, co-founder of the Legacy Youth Sports Academy, spoke at the event. He said the solution to gun violence is through everyone in the community stepping up. He also believes in the power of one unified group.
“It’s important for us to get ahead of it and showcase the power of unity and get our officers in front of our young people,” said Jones.
Members of the local non-profit Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children each took the stage reading the name of the child they lost and the age they died. The mothers want people to know that violence is not the answer.
“Everything doesn’t have to resort to violence. If we want a change the change has to start without ourselves. You have to let them know you can change and don’t want to follow,” said Rhonda Clayborn, a member of the organization.
The one thing everyone at the event wants is change. The goal? To build a safer Columbus.
“We are going to change it. Change it by working together, collectively, collaboratively. Disrupting the cycle and everyone coming for a common goal to save our youth,” said Potts.
Columbus police will hold more events this fall to connect with the youth.