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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, June 3, 2016

Mayor Berke’s Citizen Safety Coalition co-chairs call for city to increase protection of victims




Bianca Horton holds her daughter, Zoey Horton, during the Chattanooga Police Department’s Annual Awards Ceremony May 12, 2015. A bullet struck Baby Zoey in the spinal cord during a home invasion in January of last year. Holding Life Saving Awards are (L-R) Officer Clayton Holmes, Officer Brandon Herring, and Sgt. Darrell Turner, who responded to the scene, and were credited with saving the child’s life. - (Photo by David Laprad)

In response to the death of Bianca Horton last week, Bishop Adams of Olivet Baptist Church and Dr. Mitchell, vice principal of Brainerd High School, released this statement:

"Today, there are four children without their mother. Bianca Horton, mother of four, was killed yesterday. In a few weeks, she was to testify in the shooting of her infant daughter. This cycle of violence is unacceptable.

"Bianca was standing up to stop violence. It's clear both the city and us – the community – must do more to protect and stand with community members like her. Someone willing to stand up to violence needs protection, and we must find ways to help.

"Earlier today, we asked Mayor Berke to establish a Witness Protection & Victim Assistance Fund to help make resources available to protect witnesses and victims. He has agreed, and in the days to come, we will be working with anyone willing to help coordinate better protection and support for witnesses willing to stand up to violence.

"In the meantime, we ask community members join us in supporting two actions. One, contribute to Bianca's family through their GoFundMe page. Community members are rallying together to help the family; join us in pitching in at www.gofundme.com/263saazd. And two, take our community questionnaire at connect.chattanooga.gov/safe/ideas. We have to ... help make our community safe, and we need your ... ideas.

"No child, and no family, should suffer as this and too many of our other families have. Overcoming these challenges is too big for any one organization or person – we must do it together."

Mayor Andy Berke established the Citizen Safety Coalition on April 22 to find ways to help individuals within neighborhoods foster strong, stable relationships and to recommend tactics for keeping young men and women involved in positive activities, especially during the summer. Adams and Mitchell co-chair coalition.

The Citizen Safety Coalition has partnered with the City's YFD Department on Operation SAFETY to provide positive opportunities for students and a collaborative online calendar through which parents, guardians, and young people can access information on summer activities across the city. Sign up for updates at chattanooga.gov/summer or by texting FUN SUMMER to 97779.

To share feedback, visit connect.chattanooga.gov/safe/ideas. To participate in the Citizen Safety Coalition, visit connect.chattanooga.gov/safe.

Source: Citizen Safety Coalition