Madison residents react to proposal to curb violence

Madison residents react to proposal to curb violence

In just the past two weeks, there have been nearly two dozen proposals to help curb gun violence in Madison.

Now, city leaders are trying to get input from the community. City alders Barbara McKinney, Maurice Cheeks and Matt Phair stopped by the Meadowood Neighborhood Center diner Tuesday to have a question and answer session and share in some barbecue with residents.

Great conversations usually start at the dinner table. On Tuesday night, chef Albert Watson broke bread with dozens of residents in Madison’s Meadowood neighborhood, and some city leaders too. One of the main topics of conversation was how to make Madison better for everyone, especially in light of a recent string of area homicides.

For Watson, it starts with better parenting.

“I think it just starts at home,” Watson said. “We have to watch our kids, what they’re doing, and hold them accountable when they mess up.”

Matt Phair and other city and community leaders have hit the ground running. They are proposing several ways to end the violence, including prisoner re-entry programs.

“That’s a big conversation that involves a lot of players, but (is a) very important one to have,” Phair said.

Phair said a number of initiatives will take a while to happen. But something that could come sooner is more after-school programs and youth mentoring, both of which are already showing promise in the Meadowood neighborhood.

“It’s kind of like looking at myself as a young kid,” Michael Alston, the youth director at the Meadowood Neighborhood Center, said. “You just try to give them guidance and really try to support them and their dreams.”

Some of the city-funded initiatives will take shape soon. City officials will start discussing the budget this summer, and will vote on it this November.