City of Cleveland’s new chief of violence prevention talks ‘solutions’ with Central residents

Nearly one hundred residents and community partners gathered at the Friendly Inn Settlement on January 18  for Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood’s Advisory Board and Community Meeting.

Duane Deskins, city of Cleveland’s new chief of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth, attended the meeting and spoke with Central residents about community-led violence prevention efforts.

“Violence can’t be stopped by law enforcement alone. All of us are needed to solve this problem,” Deskins said. “We need to be intentional in our efforts and conversations and we need to directly reach the youth engaging in violence or it won’t make a difference.”

Residents and community partners hold a group discussion on violence prevention.
Residents and community partners hold a group discussion on violence prevention.

According to, Deskins will develop a strategy to draw together government offices, nonprofit agencies, the private sector and corporate community to tackle the social problems and dearth of opportunities that beget crime and violence in the neighborhoods.

A native of Cleveland’s Glenville and Shaker Square neighborhoods, Deskins, comes to the city via Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty’s office, where he led a broad initiative aimed at improving the quality of juvenile justice countywide.

“Creating jobs leads youth to mentors,” Deskins said. “Kids need to see innovation being done in order to learn the value of innovation and how it works, and they can do by working.”

Over the past few months, the Central community has started a number of resident-led programs meant to help create a safer community. Residents have led the renovation and re-opening of the art room at the Lonnie Burten Recreation Center and support groups for women affected by community violence as ways to support.

Dwayne Browder, president of the Central Youth Sports and Education Commission, has been an active member the efforts to create safe and constructive activities for youth in the community and also spoke to residents at the Promise Neighborhood meeting.

“We all have a responsibility to work on reducing violence. We aren’t going to wake up one day and it’s all just going to disappear,” Browder said. “Young people need to get involved and stay in school, once they stop going to school they get lost and turn to crime.”

The meeting concluded with parents, youth, residents and community partners holding a group discussion on the causes of violence and identifying possible solutions. Overall themes for causes of violence included: poverty, education challenges, lack of constructive and safe activities for youth. Some of the general solutions the group presented are: more job opportunities, breaking down educational and literacy barriers, access to transportation and community resources.

Community violence will be a reoccurring theme at the Promise Neighborhood Advisory Board and Community Meetings throughout the year.  Join us and be part of the solution. Dates and times are listed below. All meetings are held at Friendly Inn Settlement, 2386 Unwin Road.

Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood Advisory Board and Community Meetings

March 15, 2017 4 – 6 p.m.

May 17, 2017 4 – 6 p.m.

June 19, 2017 4 – 6 p.m.

September 20, 2017 4 – 6 p.m.

November 15, 2017 4 – 6 p.m.