Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners marked the first year of successful work by Connected with a proclamation Thursday that honors the group’s volunteer effort to connect each week with our community’s young men and women.
Commissioners heard at their May 10 hearing from Connected founder John Canda and other board members how the volunteers mobilized after the shooting death last year of 14-year-old Shiloh Hampton.
Canda said he sent out a late-night message on his Facebook page and got a response from more than 75 people. The group decided to act by engaging each Friday evening with young people in Holladay Park, the Northeast Portland site where the teenage boy had been shot.
“I could no longer be silent about these acts in our community,” Canda said. “We decided Holladay Park would become our ministry of place.”
“Citizens can make a difference,” Canda said. “We have made a difference.”
County Chair Jeff Cogen echoed that theme in his remarks.
“What’s really special about this is it’s identifying a real problem in the community and then not waiting for somebody else to fix it,” Cogen said. “This is a really powerful way for people to come together to make a difference in our community.”
Commissioners also noted the vital role Connected plays in the countywide response to stopping gang violence.
“While government and law enforcement play important roles in our community, they can’t always be the answer,” said Commissioner Loretta Smith: “I encourage you to keep up the good work.”
Commissioner Deborah Kafoury introduced a proclamation that highlighted the board’s support and thanks to Connected on the anniversary of the group's inception.
“What a wonderful model you have,” said Commissioner Diane McKeel.
The board unanimously approved that proclamation to the applause of the audience, which included about 15 people sporting Connected T-shirts that read “Connected We Care” on the front and “Walk with us. Talk with us.” on the back.
Taking note of those volunteers, Commissioner Judy Shiprack said, “What an amazing flash mob of power you have to call on responsible and caring adults who will show up and have an impact.”
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