Crime. Economic Struggles. Community Discouragement.
Those are some of the challenges residents of Vallejo face, but according to local native Diane Blackmon, ways must be found to raise community morale and to encourage residents to find solutions to the problems affecting their everyday lives.
“I kept waiting to see what type of movement was going to take place,” Blackmon said. “I just thought it was time for me to unite with Vallejo residents and come up with some ideas.”
Calling herself Vallejo’s unofficial “Ambassador of Good Will,” she recently founded the Vallejo Black Community Leadership Empowerment Think Tank.
The mission of the Think Tank is to organize community leaders, pastors, advocates and youth to seek ways to help fight the problems affecting the community.
“Crime is not the problem,” Blackmon said. “Crime is a symptom of the problem.”
And along with discussing and identifying possible solutions, Blackmon believes it starts with the image of the city, counteracting the negativity often portrayed in mainstream media.
A major way to make change is to change the perception of Vallejo and identify some of the major accomplishments by the city can help in a major way.
“We are known as the first city to declare bankruptcy but not known as the first city to come out of bankruptcy,” she noted.
The Vallejo Black Community Leadership Empowerment Think Tank will meet every 2nd Monday at G’s Cuts & Styles, 500 Florida St.