Community Discusses Recent Violence at Church Meeting

Attorney Benjamin Crump addressing the audience

The Tallahassee Community Shares Suggestions for a Decrease in Violence.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor hosted a community conference Thursday evening to address the recent gun violence amongst the youth.

Proctor invited local politicians, civic leaders and the Tallahassee community to Bethel A.M.E at 6 p.m.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, President of the National Bar Association, told the audience the importance of getting involved with their community.

“I argue over and over again that black lives matter, but if we don’t believe that black lives matter, how can we expect anyone else to believe that,” Crump asked the audience.  “We got to stand up and teach our children that their lives matter.”

Community members participated in the open forum style-conference and made suggestions such as community policing, a parent support group, a city wide revival, the creation of youth programs, and using social media to engage with the youth.

Amidst several recommendations, the main concern was getting the community more involved with youth.

Robert Hall, a 21-year-old Army veteran, expressed how this violence issue can only be fixed by embracing troubled youth instead of ignoring them.

 “This problem has to deal with us taking back the people we love,” said Hall.

Proctor thought that the audience turnout and participation was great. “It was like Easter Sunday,” Proctor said. He said that this issue of crime is what brought the crowd.

“It was the biggest crowd that ever came out for a community conversation that I’ve seen.”

Earlier in the meeting, Leon County Commissioner Nick Maddox encouraged the audience to speak “power to the truth”. He later explained that sometimes political agendas get in the way of the real issues of the community.

Leon County Commissioner Nick Maddox 

“A lot of times in meeting like this, you get into a room like this, and there is a political agenda, there’s a purpose,” Maddox said. “ The anger in the room and the truth never comes out .”

Maddox, however, is glad that the unheard voices of Tallahassee got a chance to share their insight. “This was their opportunity to get a chance to say what they want to say and I’m glad that they did.”

Even though unheard voices were heard, many of their frustrations come from letting these issues die down after a couple of months. Frances Willis, the aunt of Rashard Morrell, who was shot and killed in 2011, said that she is willing to help out, but there has to be a consistency with the movement.

“I really want to be a part of something that’s really going to work,” Willis said. “I’m here tonight because I really want to be a part of a move that’s going to move.”

The next community conference is scheduled for Thursday, July 9. The time and location will be announced later.