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“We have the highest homicide rate in 26 years right now, theft is out of control, and there’s a very slow police response time if you call 911,” says Angela (Andersen ’87) Connelly in the above video, which accompanied a recent story in the Tulsa News Tribune. “We are not OK with that, and we are going to change that.”

Angela (Andersen ’87) Connelly on the streets of Tacoma
Angela (Andersen ’87) Connelly on the streets of Tacoma

Concerned about soaring crime and homelessness in her city, Mrs. Connelly has co-founded Tacoma Safe, a community organization that is pushing for increased local policing and shelter options. “It is NOT compassion to look the other way when human misery is right in front of us,” she wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “It is NOT compassion to ignore the mountains of garbage, rats, drugs, human feces, on our streets. It is NOT compassion to be OK with those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse and addiction to be abandoned on our streets.”

The group has spoken before the Tacoma City Council and has launched a petition which calls for bolstering Tacoma’s police, mental-health, and drug-treatment resources. “What’s interesting about our group, it’s completely nonpartisan,” said Mrs. Connelly, a member of the College’s Board of Governors, on a recent episode of the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Radio. (See player, below.) “We are working collaboratively with all leaders in our community to really bring about change. We want to hold all of our leaders to that standard.”

But Tacoma Safe does not limit its efforts to activism. “We meet every Saturday — we have tons of people going out and covering over graffiti. We’re collecting garbage from the homeless camps,” said Mrs. Connelly. The group’s members do their part, in a very hands-on way, to help restore their city.

“We are passionate about not sitting back and watching this city die,” says Mrs. Connelly. “I do see commitment happening and change happening, and I’m very excited and hopeful.”