PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Local community members and state leaders are putting forth efforts to tackle violence and better public safety.

“This has gone on too long, we are losing our young people to the street, and we need to do something,” said Clara Forman, a coordinator with Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. Those are the words of a mother that has lost 2 children at the hands of gun violence.

Pastor Clara Forman is the local coordinator for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a local organization that’s helping families impacted by gun violence and advocates in Springfield.

“We cry, we pray, having that is very important,” Forman said.

This weekend, they’ll also march. On Saturday, the organization is holding a march in downtown Peoria. Their focus is getting the community to make their voices heard at the polls this election.

“But also to get people to vote for people that’s going to have the compassion to be able to deal with this gun violence that’s going on,” Forman said.

Another effort to enhance public safety coming down the pipeline is co-responder legislation signed into Illinois law this May. It will allow police to bring mental health professionals on calls related to a mental health crisis.

92nd District-(D) State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth said it will improve outcomes for the person experiencing the crisis and allow police to focus on other areas, including crime.

“This program will allow police officers to do police work and mental health specialists to do exactly what they are trained to do, be mental health specialists,” Gordon-Booth said.

Peoria is one of four cities that will have a pilot program of the co-response model.

Representative Gordon-Booth said the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority will meet in December to work on their budget, and that will make the program a reality in Peoria.

“It’s a historic program, first of its kind, often times it takes a few months to get the implementation right,” Gordon-Booth said.

Gordon-Booth said the co-response pilot program should begin within the next 45 days.

The Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice march will begin at 10:30 a.m. near the Peoria Library’s downtown branch. All community members are invited to attend.