New movement aims to bring peace to Bayview

August 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
They're trying again in the Bayview.

Clergy, youth leaders, community members and police are planning to sit down night to talk about what can be done to make that neighborhood safer. Unlike last month's acrimonious town hall meeting, organizers hope this one will be about collaboration.

There's a new movement in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood and it's being lead by young people like Vincent Fadenipo with the San Francisco Organizing Project. It is a faith-based group that has been in the city for 25 years. This latest mission, run by a new generation, is to bring peace and safety to the Bayview.

"Honestly, I'm involved because I'm tired of seeing brothers my age dying," Fadenipo told ABC7.

At the heart of their plan to reduce crime and violence in the Bayview is what's called a "ceasefire strategy." According to Police Chief Greg Suhr, it begins by using data to identify the troublemakers and then intervening.

"You sort of tell them hey look, here's some positive choices for you, jobs, programs, re-entry things, or here's the law enforcement side, and you pick," Suhr explained.

The chief says the department has practiced the strategy to varying degrees over the years. The young people think this time may be different.

"Before... the police department were driven by political interests, but this is really driven by community passion," Stephen Leeper said.

Leeper is helping organize a meeting at the Kipp Bayview Academy and says it was planned before last month's officer-involved shooting. At a town hall meeting after that incident, the police chief was booed. He'll attend Monday night and the atmosphere is expected to be one of collaboration not antagonism.

"Instead of finger pointing and blaming, we see the police as an essential component in bringing peace to our community," said Tiffani Johnson with the San Francisco Organizing Project.

They call the ceasefire strategy a bold step, but it will take dedication, cooperation and money for services to make it work.

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