Block party raises awareness to end violence

Local leaders use block party to better communicate with neighbors

A series of shootings around La Crosse the past few months has brought a new effort in neighborhood communication.

Since that time, community members have been finding ways to better get to know their neighbors.
All in part of an effort to reduce violence.
“This is what you do. When you have a concern, you do something like this.” said Jimmy Blackburn, an Avon St. resident.

On a September day on a small block in the Northside, it’s all about a little food, music, and company.
For resident’s of the street, however, Sunday’s event solves a little bit more than just an empty stomach.
“People were not coming out on the street, they’re not wanting to talk to each other, and we thought it would be more important to get us out on the street, get to know each other, get to know the neighbors.” said Bonnie Stangl, Avon St. resident and organizer of the event.

“With new people moving in, you need to get to know those new neighbors.” said Andrea Richmond, La Crosse city council member from the first district. “Just communicating, knocking on people’s doors and bringing people together is so important.”

Organizers say the event not only brings people together, but raises the serious concerns of the neighborhood.

“We are very adamant about stopping some of the issues that have been going on in the neighborhood, and we’re a driving force trying to get everyone out here in the neighborhood to say, what can we do to stop it.” said Richmond.

To others, however, it is about sending a message that needs to be sent.

“It sends a message to those knuckleheads that don’t think that this is real, and we’re going to keep our streets, no matter where you are. We’re going to weed you out.” said Blackburn.

Above all, it’s about keeping people of all ages safe.

“Just getting the message out to everyone that they can feel safe in their neighborhood, and they don’t have to be locked up in their homes.” said Stangl.

“They can be outside and enjoying, and trying to do the right thing.”
“No matter what color you are, who you are, it’s all about the one common cause, it’s safety to our kids and residents.”

Organizers say they hope the success of the block party will lead to more across the city.

Local politicians as well as firefighters attended today’s event.