DES MOINES, Iowa – Two Iowans say while their hope is to get violence off Des Moines’ streets, something else must change first.
College students, Malikiah Johnson and Avery Jackson started a social media campaign called #URGEdmi, which stands for “Urge Des Moines, Iowa.” Its purpose is simple: change the mindset of violence and to get people talking about the issue of violence.
“People don’t think about the long run and for someone to live in the now and never think progressively, is really disappointing,” says Jackson.
The Des Moines Police Department’s “Summer Enforcement” team has made more than 300 arrests in some of Des Moines most troubled neighborhoods; many of the arrests involved drugs and weapons.
As a result, several anti – violence groups and organizations have been established in the city but none like the #URGEdmi movement.
“Most of the groups that are going on right who are now combating this issue are adults telling the youth what do to do instead of the youth telling the youth what needs to be done,” says Johnson.
The decision to start a movement, by youth and for youth, was not a tough decision. Both attend college on the East Coast but the issue of hometown violence was enough to draw them back. Johnson graduated from Des Moines Roosevelt and Jackson from Des Moines Hoover, both in 2013. The two hope the social movement encourages young people to make the right decisions in difficult situations.
The movement leaders hosted a community forum at Evelyn Davis Park last month. They are continuing to get community leaders and churches involved in the conversation.