At the “Stop Violence” Conference in Dallas, I was moved by the willingness, creativity, and commitment from hundreds of people representing various ages, ethnicities, careers and political beliefs.

On July 25 and 26, hundreds of social workers, mental health professionals, reentry specialists, law enforcement officers, educators, and government representatives gathered together in Hurst, Texas for an intensive conference dedicated to examining emerging trends in violent behaviors and innovative strategies designed to curb them. Keynote speakers Bob Woodson, Dr. Al Valdez, Chris Kishiyama, and the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center presented compelling topics of discussion that scrutinized the causes and effects of violence in both America and the world at large, as well as offering unique and practical solutions to the crisis of widespread violence in the 21st century.

Apart from the main sessions, conference attendees sat through a plethora of workshops that narrowed the investigative focus to cover specific crimes and demographics from a wide variety of angles. From reopening cold cases to exploring the influence of cartels in Texas cities and beyond, attendees were given the unique opportunity to see the cutting-edge crime-stopping strategies employed by law enforcement officers, as well as the chance to interface with the law enforcement experts who both devise these strategies and oversee their day-to-day implementation on the frontlines. Keynote speaker Bob Woodson is the founder and president of The Woodson Center, formed to strengthen community leaders and organizations across the country. A nationally-known community development leader and popular speaker, Mr. Woodson gave a rousing speech to attendees concerning the need to speak plainly about the hard topics that often arise when discussing violence in America. He has dedicated his life to building better, safer neighborhoods for all.

OBS believes the work Mr. Woodson has done and continues to do in communities throughout the nation is invaluable. As a partner, OBS hopes to help carry Mr. Woodson’s vision to even more communities, empowering local leaders to continue changing the status quo of their respective neighborhoods for the better. Keynote speaker Chris “Kish” Kishiyama, Global Director of the Public Safety Development Group at FranklinCovey, discussed ways to cultivate trust between communities and public safety as a means to end violence in neighborhoods. Pulling from his own experiences and utilizing innovative research, Mr. Kishiyama delivered an emotionally resonant address to close out the conference on July 26. As a partner with the world-renowned FranklinCovey leadership training organization, OBS hopes to help bridge the ever-increasing divide between first responders and citizens in communities across the nation by implementing programs that bring social issues into classroom settings. With men like Chris Kishiyama leading these endeavors, OBS believes that communities broken by years of racial divides, economic hardships, and high crime rates can be rebuilt into better, stronger, thriving neighborhoods.

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