Commissioner Porter calls town hall to address gun violence
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - After a violence-filled month with more than 26 shootings in Tallahassee, local leaders are gathering to discuss their concerns, and inviting young people to join in on the conversation.
Commissioner Porter is hosting a virtual town hall on gun violence with Sheriff McNeil.
She said her goal is to listen and look to young people for solutions. One of the key questions she wants to ask is “What do you feel like adults or leaders in your life are not doing that they should be doing?”
According to the sheriff’s office’s anatomy of a homicide report, 42% of victims and 35% of homicide offenders are 15-24 years old.
That’s why Porter wants to engage young people.
“I know a lot of us are sick of talking about this,” Porter said. “We need action, but I wanted to hear from our youth and go through the work that our sheriff has done in his report anatomy of a homicide so that we can get the ball rolling taking action on solutions.”
In a conversation earlier this week, Sheriff McNeil touched on poverty as a factor. He said research shows those who have had adverse childhood experiences are more likely to be involved in a crime.
One group working to address this issue is the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Big Bend.
Kacy Dennis, the organization’s CEO, said without the Boys and Girls Clubs, hundreds of kids wouldn’t have any place to go during the critical hours after school.
He said the clubs give kids a source of community, safety and support.
There are four different Boys and Girls Clubs across Leon County serving 650 kids. They have after-school activities every weekday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., and also host programs to teach kids to stay away from guns and avoid getting caught up in risky behavior.
Dennis says the most important part of these clubs is giving kids positive role models.
“All of our programs are great, Dennis said. “They really help kids get through tough times. But it’s all about the caring relationship with a caring adult that really helps to change these kids lives. So these kids come to the club because of our staff. Our staff are devoted, they love the kids, they love what they’re doing, and they make a positive impact in their lives.”
Dennis has been involved with the boys and girls clubs for 17 years and says it saddens him to know that gun violence continues to impact young people.
The gun violence town hall will be held virtually tonight at 7 pm via zoom.
Anyone is welcome to attend, and you can register here.
The event will also be streamed on Commissioner Porter’s Facebook page.
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