NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The youth violence problem in Nashville is demanding the attention of city leaders, and likewise, community members are growing more concerned by the day.
We all want a safer community, what’s best for our kids and our city.
A group called Gideon’s Army believes that all starts with outreach to those children who are troubled.
The organization said a conversation between two people is where it can start.
Timothy Hughes, spokesperson for Gideon’s Army, said he wants the conversation to expand to city leaders and Nashville’s youth as a way to fight back against violence
“When we’re dealing with issues of crime and violence, we react to the most recent incident. We need a more systemic approach,” Hughes said.
Hughes told News 2 the approach must be proactive.
On Thursday, Gideon’s Army is promoting a “Stop the Youth Violence” summit.
Hughes and others are inviting young people who are hurting to attend and they’ll help give them a voice and provide a listening ear.
Today, crime stats are including more kids. Nearly three dozen under 12 have been charged with felonies since last year. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
“It can be difficult to hear there are so many people in difficult circumstances resorting to choices that are counterproductive,” Hughes said. “What we want to do at Gideon’s Army is give young people inspiration and choices, and opportunities.”
Hughes believes that being able to show youth they do have choices and provide them opportunities to jobs and engagement can have a lasting impact.
“It’s important to keep perspective that we’re a part of something that’s a continuing process,” he explained. “And then you do your part, make a contribution, that’s what we want to talk to our young people about.”
And that talk, he said, must involve as many people as possible.
Hughes also has a desire for a civilian oversight board in Nashville. He said it would provide a better opportunity for people to work with Metro police, and thus make it safer for young people.
Thursday’s “Stop Youth Violence” community meeting is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. James Church located at 600 28th Avenue North.