Members of Congress Advocate for “Break the Cycle of Violence” Law at North Las Vegas Event

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Yasmina Chavez

SeanJerrion Coleman-Rabb speaks at a Break the Cycle of Violence Act panel discussion at the North Las Vegas Library on Monday, September 13, 2021.

Even after being shot, the then 17-year-old Sean’Jerrion Coleman-Rabb had a cavalier attitude towards life.

“At that point I was like, if it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go,” said Coleman-Rabb, who was hanging out in a corner near Torrey Pines and Vegas. Drives in Las Vegas when he was shot in the face.

Eventually, however, he connected with a community group and mentors who helped him change his outlook and the course of his life.

Three years later, he is a youth advocate and activist for the prevention of gun violence. “God gave me a second chance, and I’m just here to make sure that I’m fine with it,” Coleman-Rabb said.

Coleman-Rabb, 20, recently attended a roundtable in North Las Vegas sponsored by U.S. Representatives Steve Horsford, D-Nev., Whose district includes North Las Vegas, and Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., who were doing promoting their Break the Cycle of Violence Act.

If the bill were enacted, the Department of Health and Human Services would allocate $ 5 billion in grants to programs focused on community intervention against violence. Another $ 1.5 billion from the Ministry of Labor would be allocated to vocational training, education and apprenticeship programs.

The bill is still in committee and House members are expected to make recommendations in the coming weeks, said Horsford, who sponsored the legislation.

Horsford and Jeffries planned the roundtable to hear from young people and community activists on how the money could be spent. Suggestions included making extracurricular activities, such as sports, more affordable and enlisting young adults with experience on the streets as mentors.

Each shared a personal story.

Horsford said the day he and the 62 House co-sponsors introduced the bill was the anniversary of his father’s murder around 30 years ago. The elder Horsford was employed in a convenience store when he was shot.

“I never had the chance to say goodbye to him or for him to see me finish school, raise my family, go out and serve this community and now be a member of Congress,” Horsford said.

Jeffries, who grew up in Brooklyn amid the crack epidemic, which has seen gun violence and homicides skyrocket, spoke of many people ending up in jail or dead.

“It’s easier to build strong children than it is to mend broken men and broken women,” he said, paraphrasing abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglas.

Investing in young people in at-risk communities can help prevent violence and better respond to trauma when it occurs, lawmakers said.

In an interview, Coleman-Rabb said he was placed in foster care after being taken away from his biological mother, who was addicted to crack cocaine. He was later adopted.

“It was tough,” he says. “Growing up, it was difficult because I wondered where I was from. I wondered who my mom and dad were.

He eventually “fell on the streets” and after being shot he was introduced to Nevada Partners, which provides academic and professional support to people struggling with poverty and other issues.

Coleman-Rabb is the organization’s WildN-Out Wednesdays coordinator, which he described as a program for ages 16 to 24 that teaches leadership, community service and civic participation skills.

Horsford said he spent his youth in the same library where the roundtable was held, participating in programs that shaped who he has become. It is crucial, he said, that young people know that their voice is important and that they see themselves as leaders.

“It really is like being at home,” Horsford said.


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