About a week after the community lost a teenager to gun violence, Miami Gardens and the North Dade Youth and Family Coalition are planning a series of events this weekend aimed at bringing some peace to weary residents.
The city and the police department are hosting a Peace in the Gardens event where Police Chief Antonio Brooklen said the main goal will be for residents to interact with officers in a relaxed environment. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Rolling Oaks Park, 18701 NW 17th Ave.
At the event, the department also plans to recruit community ambassadors to serve as liaisons between the community and cops.
“These ambassadors are going to be our voices and our mouthpieces to hopefully get the information from the community,” Brooklen said.
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The police department hopes the ambassadors can build trust in communities that are often hesitant or unwilling to provide information on crime in the city. The shooting incident that killed 17-year-old Roderick Sweeting last week as he made his way home from school remained unsolved until three teenagers were arrested Tuesday morning in connection to Sweeting’s case.
Other notable cases that inspired community action and activism, like the death of 12-year-old Tequila Forshee in 2013, remain unsolved. Forshee was killed in her grandmother’s home as she was getting her hair braided for school.
One day before Peace in the Gardens, the North Dade Youth and Family Coalition hopes to use music to unite generations and inspire change through the collaborative nature of hip-hop and jazz. The event, called Lessons in Jazz, will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Ave.
The day will begin with an assembly and continue with workshops centering on the theory of “music conflict transformation.” Radio DJs Kevin “Moose” Anderson and Montel “Whiz” Martin will host the event.
For more information on Lessons in Jazz, call 786-520-4136 or visit the coalition’s website at ndyfc.org.