Following a recent series of shootings that left seven people dead, Santa Monica city and school leaders are jointly working on the next steps, including an action plan, to move the community’s response forward.
Officials with the city, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and Santa Monica College have announced that the Cradle to Career Group, an inter-agency collaboration, will take the lead in addressing youth and family violence though strategies focused on the root causes, including mental illness and family support.
The city is reeling from episodes of violence that began June 7, when five people were shot dead before police shot and killed the gunman at Santa Monica College. Only days later, one man was killed and another wounded in a shooting not far from the campus. Officials noted that the suspects in the shootings were youth under the age of 24.
“As we learn more about the June 7 shooting, it’s clear that addressing complex issues of mental health and domestic violence should be top priorities. These are complex issues that affect us all and are not specific to any one neighborhood or population segment,” said Julie Rusk, assistant director of the city’s Community and Cultural Services Department.
Representatives of the Cradle to Career Initiative came together June 14 to offer condolences, share information about the steps taken in the immediate aftermath of the violence and affirm their intent to re-double efforts to act in smart, collaborative and accelerated ways against such incidents.
“As a community moves from grieving to healing, the conversation naturally shifts from why this happened to how do we make sure this doesn’t happen again?” said Sandra Lyon, superintendent of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
“No one organization alone can provide the answer. That’s why we’re committed to Santa Monica’s collective impact approach to helping our youth and their families.”
Among the efforts explored is an action plan that will be developed through the public-private partnership of Cradle to Career partners. A Youth & Family Violence Prevention Fund will be established to accelerate implementation of the action plan, beginning with a private donation of $50,000.