Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2014

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2020 Vision:

Pastor: If connected, West Las Vegas can thrive

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Sam Morris

Pastor S.S. Rogers envisions a West Las Vegas with thriving businesses and in which the community works together to deter violence.

We would hope West Las Vegas would be more like Summerlin. We want to have businesses, black-owned businesses, restaurants and even shopping centers in our remote area.

The F Street Coalition is looking at this, the West Side Chamber of Commerce and Las Vegas are looking at what progress we can make on bringing the west side together with downtown. We want a community that is viable, that is livable, and one where any person can live without fear.

We know there is violence everywhere, but we want to eliminate that violence by working with schools and churches, police, the NAACP and other community groups to deter some of these violent activities. We’re trying to get to kids at an early age, kindergarten and elementary schools, and where there are problems with children at an early age, you need to catch it then.

We will be able to deter this violence by working with parents. Deter violence and tell them there’s a better way than a life of violence.

I’m a 49-year resident of Clark County. I came here in 1960. To see the environment now, it’s a lot different. We need to return to the concept that parents, students, neighbors collectively together work to end these activities.

And we want to let our youth know we love them and are here to support them. They need to know that if they don’t want to be involved in these activities, they can come to us.

They should know they can speak to me in confidence. Because now there’s a culture of fear. Too often, when information was given to police about crimes, there were leaks. That has to stop, and we need to rebuild confidence.

We need jobs for underprivileged children, jobs for students who want to work and can work.

Some of them can’t get a job because of prior involvement with the law. But once they have served their time, they should be able to give back to their community that they have taken from or destroyed. They need to be able to prove themselves and say “I’m willing to come back to my community and be a good parent and give back.”

If the business community really wants to do something to help the community be stronger by 2020, they’ll network through our churches to find workers. We can provide good working people. We see these good people every Sunday.

S.S. Rogers is pastor of Greater Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Las Vegas, and a member of the F Street Coalition, which sought to reopen F Street, a main thoroughfare connecting West Las Vegas to downtown.

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