Charter Takes On Long Beach Gangs

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Charter Communications Inc. has partnered with the city of Long Beach, Calif., the local newspaper and two anti-violence groups to stage a 41-hour marathon to fight the local gang culture.

The event will kick off at 7 p.m. (PST) Thursday with a two-hour live forum hosted by Rikki Kleiman of Court TV. The successive hours will include everything from documentaries on individuals who have left gang life to tattoo removal. It will end Saturday with an open dialogue with city youth hosted by Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill.

Recent statistics indicated that 6,000 local residents are gang members, or about 1.25% of the population. In a prepared statement, O'Neill said gang activities are covered on the news but often overshadowed by other stories of the day. This marathon will bring home the city's message that "gang choice is the wrong choice."

Eric Brown, senior vice president for Charter in the city, added that he hoped the marathon strategy -- using multiple channels over an extended period of time -- would help to elevate the urgency of the community issue.