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Leaders use conversations to move a community forward following shooting at East High School

Latino leaders along with Des Moines Public Schools are planning to hold a community round table to unite everyone, following the shooting at East High.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Latino leaders in the metro are working on ways to unite and move forward following the shooting at East High School.

So far, the plan includes having conversations with the community in partnership with the Des Moines Public Schools.

Matthew Smith, associate superintendent at DMPS, said talks about bringing the community together started happening in the days following the March 7 shooting.

A shooting that resulted in one teen dying and two teens being injured.  Since then police, have arrested 10 suspects in connection to the incident.

RELATED: 4 additional teens charged with murder, attempted murder in shooting outside East High School

Seso, a freelance artist who helps out with many non-profits including Latino ones like Knock and Drop Iowa and 4 All Kids, said he thinks the idea of round table talks are a good idea. 

"This is a good way for us all to connect," Seso said. "Get on the same page. It's almost like you go to work and you got a morning huddle. Everyone has to be on the same page in order for you to get the job done. In this case, we're trying to create a brighter future for the kids."

He also noted the talks would be a good time for leaders to think of ideas that offer teens more outlets to express themselves like being involved in more after-school activities. 

Smith said these conversations that would take place at the roundtable would be an opportunity for many community members to come together.

"Talk about what they are experiencing, what they would like to see, and what ideas will achieve that vision," Smith said.

He also noted that these discussions play one part in helping to make the community a safer place, and are just one element to improving the world we want to see our children grow up in. 

The planning for the talks are in the early stages, but at least five are scheduled to be had. Iowa ACEs 360 will also help to design and facilitate opportunities for the conversations.

They will likely take place during the last week of April and the first week of May. 

The conversations will be hosted at each of DMPS' five high schools and the community will have an opportunity to offer feedback through an online survey.

Seso added that after the conversations he hoped a stronger bond between everyone is formed. 


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