Jason Lehman, WYSM Founder and Executive Director
Dear WYSM Supporter,
Your support is crucial to the success of our life-saving mission! I was inspired to create “Why’d You Stop Me?”” (WYSM) in 2011 when I was informed that a group of inner city youths were plotting to kill police officers. My first instinct as a police officer was to arrest the youths. However, my power to make the arrests was limited as their identities were not revealed to me. Instead, I was given the opportunity to speak to a larger audience, which included these individuals.
During the Q&A session, I realized that the audience had a limited understanding of police procedures and our interactions with the community, thus creating lack of trust. The most common concern: “Why are you always stopping me?” It was apparent that acts of violence between the community and police could be greatly reduced if both parties could step into each other’s shoes to see, hear and feel the power struggle we each faced.
I have spent countless hours developing and delivering a powerful message in Long Beach with the goal of keeping police officers and community members alive. The WYSM board is assembled of a team of powerful community leaders who believe in this cause, and our team’s focus is to grow this program, strengthened by feedback from participants, to affect change. Continued inspiration comes from participants like 16 year-old Jasmine Simpson, who expressed true hatred for the police prior to attending a WYSM presentation. After, she was motivated to write a poem, featured in this link, about her changed perception.
Through education and effective communication, we will save even more lives in our community, the state of California and throughout our nation. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can help save a life!
Founder and Executive Director