A daylong conference will be held Friday to raise awareness about gangs and prevention efforts in San Luis Obispo County.
The second annual Gang and Youth Violence Prevention Conference will give local residents and social service providers a chance to learn about gang trends and the strategies used to fight gang and youth violence.
Registration is open to the public; the deadline to register has been extended until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Speakers include members of the county’s gang task force; former gang member Daniel “Nane” Alejandrez, who founded the national urban peace association Barrios Unidos in Santa Cruz in 1997; and UCSB professor Victor Rios, a former gang member who conducted a three-year study of more than 100 gang-involved black and Latino youth.
Event sponsors include the county’s Anti-Gang Coordinating Commission, established in 2009 to address gang-related issues proactively. It is headed up by Sheriff Ian Parkinson, Chief Probation Officer Jim Salio and District Attorney Gerry Shea.
There are about 1,300 documented gang members in San Luis Obispo County, said Marci Powers, coordinator of the commission.
“When I am out speaking to groups in the county I am often asked, ‘Do you really think we have a gang problem in SLO County?’” she wrote in an email to The Tribune. “The answer is yes.”
The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mountainbrook Community Church, 1175 Calle Joaquin in San Luis Obispo. For more information and to register, go to www.antigang.wordpress.org. The cost is $10, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch.