A column on the gun violence in Toronto, with some great insights by Colin McCartney, executive director of Urban Promise Toronto:
McCartney’s solutions knock conventional wisdom. A strong law and order approach won’t work. (“If you have no hope, you don’t care if you get arrested.”) Investing in youth programs won’t work. (“It’s not enough. In some cases, if you get a 17- or 18-year-old who’s messed up, it’s too late.”) And he has harsh words for church leaders who parachute into a community, host a BBQ, do a “prayer walk” to places where violence has occurred, then leave. All that does is further stigmatize and stereotype the community as a “bad” place, says McCartney. Even worse, the Christians aren’t there to help the rest of the time.
His solution is two-fold: Focus on children. Be there.
…McCartney sees himself and his staff as “hope-brokers” giving young children and youth positive role models, help and hope for a better future outside the violence they see.