Gun violence forum held at Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Boys
Attendees had a lot to say during Monday night’s meeting.
TOLEDO, Ohio — Tonight in the Junction-Englewood neighborhood of Toledo, a community gun violence forum was held at Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Boys. The goal of the meeting was to present potential solutions to the issue, which were developed as a result of past meetings.
Pastor Willie Perryman, III of Jerusalem Baptist Church also heads up the local chapter of the NAACP and says meetings like this are crucial to the greater community.
“People of color are actually getting involved, becoming engaged in these types of items, and these types of community forums, because these types of forums, violence; it really affects our communities,” said Perryman.
Avis Files, a Junction-Englewood resident, community volunteer, and activist, had a lot to say during today’s meeting, and that includes comments regarding the funding of existing community-based programs, instead of developing new ones.
“It needs money behind it. It needs resources because when you’re talking about training people that will be trained, then you have to pay them. A million dollars, I could spend that in a year, I could spend that in six months right now — easily. You need millions and millions and millions of dollars. If we’re not gonna hold our city, and our county, and our commissioners accountable to put some money on the table — to credible people,” said Files.
Those with the Mayor’s Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence say they aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, although they believe they have ideas that could prove successful if given the opportunity.
“It’s a fact that whenever you inject positivity, it tends to distract, or deter, the negative. So through that program, after those 3 incidents of violence, with these individuals from the community, we didn’t have one. Not one incident of violence in the month of July,” said JoJuan Armour, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence.
Others in attendance of tonight’s meeting say just investing more into the community, engaging the youth, and ultimately the parents, is what’s needed to adequately address the issue, which isn’t confined to just one community.
“One other thing I hope that comes out of all of this is that there be resources put into every organization, every school,” said one attendee.
“They’re showing their hands on social media, they’re showing exactly what they’re doing, sometimes before they even make the steps of killing someone,” one woman explained.
One resident even suggested a digital solution to the gun violence epidemic.
“Just a text line or something.”