CHAMPAIGN — Nearly two years after about 300 community members gathered at a forum to discuss what breakdowns may have contributed to the fatal police shooting of a black teenager, city officials are introducing a plan they hope will continue moving the city forward.
Organizers will present the plan to the city council when it meets on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
It's called "Walk as One: A Community Moving Forward Together," and city officials hope it will push all kinds of community groups to collaborate in building stronger police-community relations and opportunities for youth.
The plan was written by a working group following direct input from the community during a March 2010 meeting, during which community members commented on the state of the relationship between the police department and the community and the opportunities — or the lack thereof, as many comments pointed out — for young people in Champaign.
The forum was organized as one of City Manager Steve Carter's six initiatives to move the community forward following the October 2009 fatal police shooting of 15-year-old Kiwane Carrington.
The plan focuses on four goals:
— Developing community partners: Led by Joan Walls, deputy city manager for community relations, officials hope to engage organizations that have a vested interest in the community and that can assist in identifying and solving low-income and youth issues.
— Improving police-community relations: Led by Champaign police Lt. Joe Gallo, organizers hope to improve the police complaint process; develop programs to educate the community on police policies and procedures and individual rights and responsibilities; and develop diversity- and culturally-based training, recruiting and hiring programs.
— Encourage healthy youth and families: Led by Tracy Parsons, project director for ACCESS Initiative, officials hope to enhance the mental and physical health of young people in the community. That includes developing programs to help young people respond to stressful and traumatic situations, encouraging fitness campaigns and healthy eating and developing a comprehensive sexual education campaign.
— Encourage youth development: Led by Orlando Thomas, director of pupil services for Champaign schools, organizers want to support parents, prepare young people for employment and provide students with tools on how to handle conflict and peer pressure.