Milwaukee has launched an "I Will Not Die Young" campaign, in response to ongoing violence in the city's minority neighborhoods. The Milwaukee Public Schools will partner with community groups to put mentors in about 20 schools in neighborhoods plagued by crime and violence. The volunteer mentors will try to increase school attendance, academic achievement, and get at-risk students of color to be more engaged with the school. The effort is called "Saving Our Sons-- I will not die young." MPS Superintentent Gregory Thornton says the battle to help more kids has become personal.
"You know it is personal, brother, every time I stand at a coffin and talk with a grieving mother."
Marna Winbush says she supports the new Milwaukee mentoring campaign, though it comes too late to help her son, who was murdered in 2003. Winbush says beyond mentoring, more restrictions are needed on guns.
"Every time you look around, there's a murder, a father grieving, a sister grieving, we should not have to do this," she says.
The Milwaukee Public Schools says future efforts will focus on young women and expanding student leadership initiatives into more schools. Today's news conference became an hou-rlong session with community leaders expressing outrage at what they see as a lack of opportunities and respect for African-American youth.