NORFOLK, Va. - Tuesday, Norfolk State University and leaders the City of Norfolk came together to host a forum addressing challenges in the community, including recent gun violence.
"When we see a violent act, we actually see the result of a process," Dr. Eric Claville, the forum's moderator and NSU public policy expert said. "Our goal is to retrace those steps, and to try to solve the issues before it gets to the end result."
The event featured a panel of leaders from the university and city.
The panelists that took part in Tuesday's forum included:
- Norfolk State University President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D.
- City of Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander, Ph.D.
- City of Norfolk Police Chief Larry D. Boone
- City of Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney-elect Ramin Fatehi
- Kayla Hicks, founder, president and CEO of Sustain Equity Group
- Norfolk State University Interim Chief of Police Brian Covington
- Norfolk State University sociology professor Dr. Robert Perkins, Ph.D.
- Norfolk State University social work professor Dr. Sharon Alston, Ph.D.
- Norfolk State University Student Government Association President Jaylin Drewry
Among those who attended the forum was Norfolk native Latisha Riddick.
“I just hope that with this meeting, it’s just not words,” Riddick told News 3.
When asked about the recent mass shooting in Norfolk’s Young Terrace community, she said she felt, “very hurtful, traumatized and devastated.”
She added that throughout her time living in Norfolk, violence in the city has gone up.
Overall, she wants to see more events like Tuesday’s forum, more voices included at similar events and for the City of Norfolk to open more recreation centers for young people.
“Without having a positive outlet to exercise all of that energy and emotions they have in themselves, they’re going to just channel that into a different way,” Riddick said.
Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander said it’s all about finding solutions.
“We’re seeing too much of this senseless violence happening on our streets,” Mayor Alexander said. “More investment. More investment in education. More investment in recreation. More investment in workforce development and job training, and skill trades.”
News 3 also asked Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney-elect Ramin Fatehi what his plans are to address curbing violence within the city once he takes office in January.
“I have plans to reorganize our entire office to focus on the neighborhoods,” Fatehi said. “To try and identify the small number of people who are driving a great amount of the gun violence, while at the same time, respecting the civil rights and the civil liberties of the vast majority of people who are doing nothing wrong and who deserve to have their rights respected.”
Fatehi also mentioned to News 3 his office plans to focus on a family justice center they partner with other agencies to help with domestic violence, as well as working with the city and federal partners on tackling youth and gun violence.
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