Mynisha Crenshaw’s death was a call to action against gang violence
By Steve Lambert | The Sun
Posted: 11/14/15, 7:03 PM PST | Updated: 1 day ago
“Can one life make a difference?”
A decade later, it’s fair to say that it can, and that Mynisha Crenshaw’s has. In death, this little girl we never knew but learned so much about awakened an entire community’s collective consciousness about gang violence.
Before that tragic Sunday evening in November 2005, it always seemed that the leadership of San Bernardino was in denial about gangs, preferring instead to blame “random acts of violence” and “hate crimes.”
Pat Morris, then a retired judge seeking his first term as mayor, saw it differently. He embraced this newspaper’s laser-beam coverage of Mynisha’s story, later putting forth a bold anti-gang initiative, Operation Phoenix.
That program was rooted in Mynisha’s Circle, a public outreach campaign The Sun had launched in the days following her death. Our first call was to Reggie Beamon, a local pastor and activist. Kent Paxton, then head of the San Bernardino County Children’s Network, lent his invaluable expertise and leadership. Almost overnight, local law enforcement, the business community, neighborhood associations, nonprofit leaders and concerned citizens had joined in confronting the causes and consequences of gang violence.