Stop the Violence organizers hold forum to combat gun violence

Screen Shot 2022-06-04 at 8.33.40 PM.png
Posted at 9:01 PM, Jun 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-04 23:21:39-04

NORFOLK, Va. — In Norfolk, there have been 23 homicides so far this year according to Gun Violence Archive.

Community activists, city officials, and members of the community came together for a "Stop the Violence Community Youth Forum."

Concerned members of the community rallied together at the Kroc Center to express their concerns about gun violence, with the goal of targeting youth, to express their thoughts and the trauma for them that lingers behind it.

One teenager at the forum said, " I had some friends who lost their life to gun violence, especially when most of them wasn't even supposed to be targeted."

Teens take the mic at the Stop the Violence Community Youth Forum, they know all too well about the impact of gun violence. As senseless acts of gun violence take a toll on many, a community conversation was held.

Organizers said they want to move beyond calling for thoughts and prayers and call on city officials to prevent these shootings from happening.

"I would like to see the city develop a youth council or a youth advisory council or board and find out what they will like to see in their city," Philip Hawkins, NPS Educator/Stop the Violence Member said.

Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander says he would like to help non-traditional leaders, faith-based organizations, and people committed to stopping violence to receive money through a grant to help build social skills within communities. But for one Stop the Violence member, a grant can't ease her pain.

"I lost my dad a year ago to gun violence, he was an innocent by stander gunned down in front of a local store," Nikia Little, Stop the Violence Member said.

Her dad was 67-years-old when he died, and a year later, the pain is still fresh.

"There has been no leads, no witnesses, no information has come forward," said Little.

Little says accountability is a big part of the equation, not only for police and government but for parents.

"I just want to see everybody to the table with tangible solutions. I don't think there is one answer, I feel like that most of that lies in the youth," said Little.

Stop the Violence organizers said to News 3 that the next forum will be held before the end of the summer- with the goal of reaching more youth to speak at the table to express their concerns and aim for change.