The Modesto Police Department and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, along with the city of Modesto, Stanislaus County, Modesto City Schools and the Stanislaus County Office of Education, are hosting a community forum on gangs and violence Wednesday at 7 p.m. The forum, called "Break the Cycle," will be held in the Modesto High School cafeteria at 18 H St.
The Hispanic Leadership Council and the Stanislaus County Office of Education will host a forum and discussion in Riverbank for policy-makers May 15. The program is not open to the public. It will include a screening of the documentary "Nuestra Familia: The Impact of Prison Gangs in our Community." A panel discussion will include Modesto police Sgt. Rick Armendariz of the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon, Balvino Irizarry of the Hispanic Leadership Council and District Attorney Birgit Fladager.
The Stanislaus County chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host a free public forum May 20 about creating a review board to oversee charges of undue force, harassment of minorities and excess secrecy in dealing with complaints against law enforcement personnel. Co-sponsored by the Criminal Justice Club at California State University, Stanislaus, the event will feature attorney Mark Schlosberg, the police practices policy director for the ACLU in Northern California, who will discuss "Police Harassment or Civilian Review?" The event will be held at 7 p.m. in Room C102 of Bizzini Hall on the CSUS campus in Turlock. Bizzini Hall is north of the main campus entrance on Monte Vista Avenue. Free parking will be available in Lot 11, just right of the Monte Vista entrance.
Area residents are invited to participate in a "March Against Gang Violence" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 24. The march will start at the Stanislaus County Courthouse in downtown Modesto and end at Modesto High School. The event is sponsored by the Community Action Coalition of Stanislaus County, the city of Modesto, the Stanislaus County Office of Education, the Stanislaus County Community Gang Task Force, the police and sheriff's departments, the Hispanic Leadership Council, the NAACP and the Weed and Seed program. For information, call Jeremiah Williams at 568-3096.
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Also on May 24, the community is invited to participate in the "Raw and Real Hip-Hop Symposium" about youth-on-youth violence, a collaborative effort of community mentors and educators. The event is sponsored by the NAACP, the King-Kennedy Memorial Center Board of Directors and Fathers Who Care. Details on the location of the event will be announced soon. For more information, call Jai Gullatt at 408-0277.
Organizers with Modesto City Schools are putting together four gang awareness presentations within the next month for students, parents and staff at four middle schools. The dates have not been determined. The presentations will cover gang awareness and laws about gangs. They also will stress the role parents must play to keep kids out of gangs. For more information, call Jorge Perez at 550-3300, ext. 5402.