WORD ON THE STREET | What can we do to stop the violence?

(lop, l-r) Melissa Coleman, Christopher Williams, Kashmire Berry, (bottom row l-r) Cherie Irby, Kiere Irby, and Princess Titus

The MSR attended the 2nd Annual Stop the Violence South Side Community Cookout at Peavey Park on July 28. The event was presented by T.O.U.C.H. Outreach & The Corcoran Neighborhood with the purpose of stopping the rising tide of violence in the community,

The gathering brought out droves of community members for a day of food, resource and health vendors, and most importantly,  community spirit. We spoke to a few of the attendees and asked the questions: Why is it important for you to attend this event? What do you think will help stop the violence in the community?

Melissa Coleman

It’s important to show the youth and people in the community that there are still people who care about what goes on in their community. It’s time for the community to come together and stop the violence. 

We need to come together even if we have to come to the parks with our kids and patrol. When you see something, say something—don’t turn the other cheek like you didn’t see anything. 

Christopher Williams

It is very important for me to be at this event today giving back to the community and helping out. I have plenty of time, so if I can’t give money, I can give my time, and that’s very important. I grew up in Minnesota but moved my business to California, but I always come back to where I started from, so this is home! 

To help stop the violence is to start with stuff like this. Get out and communicate with the police officers and get to know the officers. I think it is important for the police officers to get to know the people in the community. 

I think it would help build relationships, and once you build the relationship with someone you can grow from there. We have to come together and step out and do our parts, our diligence in the community and neighborhood. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s your neighborhood or not—we all have to do it. We can watch all day, but we have to get together and teach our boys how to become men and our girls how to become women or the cycle will continue.

Kashmire Berry

It was important for me to come out and support the community. I think the community needs to continue to come together as a family and get along. We need to accept change, ‘cause change is important.

Cherie Irby

I think it is important for me to be at this event because it engages us with the community, culture, other ethnicities, and people with different beliefs. It brings awareness to people of what’s happening in the community. There is also homelessness, people looking for meals every day in the community, so this event provides a meal for them.  To help stop the violence in the community, I think we need to start reading scriptures and the Bible.

Kiere Irby

It was important for me to support the community and help with what they are trying to do in the community. To help stop the violence, we need to keep having these types of events and continue to outreach to the people in the community.

Princess Titus

It’s important for me to be at this event because people are stuck in the stigma about this community and about this area. [You have to] come out and meet people where they are without judgment and make sure their needs are met.  We have things people can be active [about]; we have really good food; we have something to celebrate and appreciate in the community. I don’t see any violence happening.

 I think this event is important. I was invited to come here a few weeks ago by someone whom I’d just met. I felt like this would be a good event because it is celebrating the community. People need to feel loved and whole.

My family has been victims of gun violence 12 years ago. I feel we need to really appreciate our youth. I like the model where young fathers are celebrated. Take the young men off the streets and change their environment; meet them in their humanity. 

I would like to do that for the young people who are gang affiliated, homeless, and who are dealing with substance abuse. Celebrate, have a meal, find out their talents and gifts and then put them in play.