The success of an inner-city gang prevention and intervention program, combined with the support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, moves to the Inland Empire
By Yussuf J. SimmondsSentinel Managing Editor
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."--Jimi Hendrix
On August 3, Stop the Violence Increase the Peace Foundation (STVIP), in conjunction with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (SMBMI), will host a press conference signaling the opening of the Inland Empire's first certified gang prevention training course on the campus of California State University, San Bernardino. Khalid Shah is the founder and executive director of STVIP and James Ramos is the chairman of the SMBMI.
It will be the first of its kind college course, funded in part by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and will train (20) community students, parents, public and social administrators to identify signs of gang membership, resolve community conflicts, understand the history and the migration of gangs to the Inland Empire, and a complete review of the nationally approved, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Comprehensive gang model.
It also has the support of the political, community, faith-based and law enforcement communities and student leaders. The Gang Prevention & Intervention Program is a 20-week course that teaches prevention and intervention strategies, substance abuse, conflict resolution and peer mediation. The Tribe's contribution will help sustain the program and allow people to attend this course through scholarships.
According to Kenneth Shoji of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians Office of Public Affairs, "The program started with a school program for fourth-graders where they were taught by Native Americans from the San Bernardino community--a very diverse community. People have seen Native Americans as they are and are learning lessons from them about their daily contemporary lives, show their history and that they are not just museum people."
Furthermore, as an indigenous community the origins and history of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians connect the people to the land and to all who share it. These connections have shaped "our" culture, traditions and present lives. Today "our" Serrano ancestral lands, which included much of the Inland Empire, are shared by many.
As a part of the charitable giving program on the website of the SMBMI, it reads: "From the strength of the past, let us build a brighter future."
Followed by: "As the tribe's economy has grown, we have drawn upon our history, knowledge, expertise and cultural values to direct our philanthropic giving in our local region, as well as to Native American causes nationwide."
The first class will run from August 2010 to January 11, 2011 and additional support is expected from Young Visionaries Youth Leadership.