Pleasantville is borrowing a page from Atlantic City when it comes to combating violence - and getting its neighbor to the east to help spread the word.
Pleasantville leaders taped a segment at Atlantic City High School's television studio Thursday to get out the word as they start cookouts similar to those held in Atlantic City the past two summers. The show will be shown on public access Channel 2.
"You want to bring the community out so that everybody's engaged, everybody's involved," Mayor Jesse Tweedle said.
Tweedle, along with Police Chief Jose Ruiz, Council President Judy Ward and other leaders, spoke with Atlantic City Schools Security Chief Dewane Parker about the barbecues. The first will be at the New Hope Community park on Woodland Avenue from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 21.
Residents in both Pleasantville and Atlantic City have often felt like prisoners due to the violence on the cities' streets, said Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, who also was on the show. That's why it's important that they feel they can share information with police.
"Whenever you have a group of people who care enough to get the community and the police together, you're fortunate," Brown said. "Events like this break down the barriers. You break down the walls."
Parker was instrumental in starting the barbecues last year as part of the "Stop the Silence" movement he and then-Media Director Derek Cason began. Now, they and regular weekly walks through Atlantic City's more troubled areas have become staples of the summer, and an outreach movement led by the Coalition for a Safe Community.
Formerly Stop the Violence of Atlantic City, the coalition's work has been helpful in bringing down the instances of violence in both towns, President Perry Mays said Thursday.
"The most important goal is for Atlantic City and Pleasantville to be equal partners," said Ward, who in addition to heading Pleasantville's City Council is the chair for the coalition's Youth Committee.
"That's important because a lot of the problems start with the youth," she said.
"If you lose control of your kids, you lose control of your future," Ruiz said.
Tweedle said it's also important to focus on the positives in the city.
"It can't all be about the negative," he said. "I don't want the kids to be discouraged."
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