Activists Promise Action

by Thomas MacMillan | January 7, 2010 11:52 AM | | Comments (13)

20100106_TM_0048.jpgWhen it comes to addressing gun violence in New Haven, the time for talk is over. It’s now time to act, by taking ownership of the problem.

That message came out of a meeting of 50 African-American community leaders on Wednesday evening. Although the theme emerged during two hours of talking, Pastor Donald Morris ended the gathering with a promise of imminent action.

Morris is the head of the Christian Community Commission’s Brotherhood Leadership Summit, one of several city organizations represented at the meeting. He and others organized the meeting in response to a recent spate of violent crime in the city, including two murders since the beginning of the new year and a shooting by a 13-year-old boy. The event followed a similar gathering last month at City Hall.

“We cannot sit around and make gun violence part of the norm in our city,” Morris said at the start of the meeting. “This is the action phase.”

One after another, meeting participants spoke about the need for members of the black community to take ownership of problems in their neighborhoods, and not to wait for police or city government to end violence.

20100106_TM_0018.jpg“You can’t expect someone to come into your own house and straighten out your own family,” said Pastor John Lewis. “I just point it right back at us.”

20100106_TM_0007.jpgAlderwoman Jackie James-Evans encouraged people to take part in City Hall hearings and meetings about issues like the city budget.

20100106_TM_0021.jpgCity cop and youth worker Shafiq Abdussabur emphasized the importance of working with young people.

Morris ended the meeting by presenting a new committee, composed of eight to 12 leaders, including Abdussabur and James-Evans, along with activists, church leaders, and State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield.

The committee will be coming up with an agenda and a strategy — including a media roll-out — to address gun violence in the city, Morris said.

Morris asked the committee members present to stand. “Take a look,” he said to the room. “The next time you see us we’ll be surrounded by cameras.”

“No more talking,” Morris said after the meeting. “We’ve heard everybody now.”

The meeting concluded with a prayer circle.

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Comments

Posted by: teewee | January 7, 2010 3:13 PM

That's right Mr. Morris the time for talking is over it's time to act. If this violence continues we'll be on pace for record highs in murders this year,Not only does the shooting have to stop what about the robberies that are happening everyday.
People should remember this is how 1992 started off and that year the city had 30 or so homicides lets get together people lets take back our community.

Posted by: what? | January 7, 2010 3:18 PM

“The next time you see us we’ll be surrounded by cameras.”

“No more talking,” Morris said after the meeting.

Sounds like more talking to me. How does having television cameras around solve the problem?

Posted by: HewNaven?? | January 7, 2010 4:35 PM

Sounds like more talking to me. How does having television cameras around solve the problem?


What?

I think they intend to use video technology to share their ideas with the rest of the city.

--Capt. Obvious

Posted by: City Hall | January 7, 2010 6:05 PM

Blah! Hot Air! ... Blather and much more! Ask JD for another 75K to Squander into a useless program, more blather more show more bullets and more Homicides. Get real and stop gran standing and take part in your community your church your neighborhood your house get some real leaders get some real clergy get some real politicians and get over the same old useless press conferences.

Posted by: Frederick | January 7, 2010 7:17 PM

Grand Standing is all Donald and his band ... ever do. Its annoying and so over the top. It saddens me that this man and his people continue to claim they are leaders in the community.

Just be honest with the masses. ...

Can't wait until GospelFest 2010; will see if all his hard work pays off. Gary, Jackie and Shafique; get off the commissions sinking ship!

Posted by: Ned | January 7, 2010 7:38 PM

Regarding the "prayer circle": there is a correlation between religiosity and social dysfunction - more religion = more social dysfunction.

Posted by: what? | January 7, 2010 8:14 PM

HewHaven?? AKA Capt Obvious.

Clearly what I wrote wasn't obvious enough for you. City Hall made the point better, "blah, blah, blah". That is exactly what these blowhards are going to do when the cameras are around. I can tell you before they even start talking that their ideas are old and tired. Heard them before from the very same folks.

Posted by: Che | January 7, 2010 9:52 PM

I have been hearing Rev. Morris for the last couple of years with the same speeches. All I see is a group of males riding their bikes seeing what needs work and no results. Media has been covering all the speeches and it looks like some people just like the spotlight and listening to themselves talk and talk but to actual action coming out of the conversation. How many committees and more meetings need to happen to talk about the same thing over and over again. Ultimately it will be on the city again to give monies to communities to keep kids busy because no one else can do that but city programs. The kids who really need it and the ones you are trying to target are not the ones who come to these programs. Start by telling the community that they need to tell the police of what they saw when a crime is committed in their neighborhood. You will not end the violence if you still protect, by not snitching, the criminal who comes into your neighborhood to cause harm. Its time to stop talking and forget about the cameras just go in without the attention and get things done, for God's Sake! not your Sake!

Posted by: DKR | January 7, 2010 10:03 PM

how many times are we going to hear the same thing,...i've been hearing it for the past 12yrs....same story,..just different names and faces.....have these so-called talks and peace marches stopped or changed the violence,...NO,..and nothing will change unless people start being responsible for their actions,..stop expecting handouts as if they are "owed" them..and start respecting yourself and others

Posted by: notimon | January 8, 2010 10:13 AM

I have propose asking the Board of Education to include as a part of their curriculum, Anger Management and Conflict resolution along with incorporating Mediation as a part of the school suspension program. As many of you may already know, most if not all of this gun violence and violence in general stems from someone being angry and not knowing how to manage that anger or resolve whatever the conflict is that cause the anger in the first place. I proposed to Donald Morris and His commission that we sign a petition asking for these tools to be taught starting in elementary school and it be a requirement before entering middle school and from middle school to High School and then a requirement to graduate from High School. I also proposed that if a kid is suspended that prior to he or she returning to class they go through mediation with their parents sitting at the table as well. Lets face it, this is an anger problem amongst our youth and they need the tools to know how to manage their anger. I quote the bible verse "Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, and Slow to Anger". Basically what that means is if the youth or anyone for that matter will listen more than they talk, they would be less likely to get angry to the point of being violent.

Posted by: City Hall Watch | January 8, 2010 11:38 AM

Whatever happened to the mayor's interdiction program on violence prone kids? If I remember correctly, he said that he knew who the relative few kids were that were causing all the problems because of some study by Yale. So, do we still know who these kids are? Has there been any success with that program? It seems there were about 300 kids or less.

Posted by: Willie D. Greene | January 8, 2010 1:21 PM

There is truly no need for these types of meetings. They absolutely serve no purpose other than allowing people to vent their frustration about what is happening in their own community. Quite frankly I am tired of hearing all the excuses that we don't bring in the guns, the drugs etc. It is so easy to blame everything on everyone else than for us to stand up and assume the blame that we have failed miserably to pick up and carry the ball as those before us did.

We have failed to provide the network of support for our children, we have failed to provide them with the checks and balances that our children desperately want and need. We have to stop looking to the city for the answers and begin providing the discipline and structure that our children and community needs in order for us to move forward and create a safe enviroment.

We have to start being parents and stop worrying about being a friend to our children. I understand all too well how important it is to have a father in the home. I was blessed to have both mom and dad who saw all their children grow into adulthood.

However I grew up in a neighborhood where many had no mother or dad they lived with extended members of the family and despite father was not there many have gone on to lead productive lives. We must stop our chidren from bringing money into the household knowing very well that they have no jobs.

If truth be told parents must no longer allow our children to buy the 200 dollars sneakers, drive the luxury cars and turning our heads and pretend that we don't know what our children are doing.

Were all complaining about what the city is not doing when in fact its our children who are killing each other. Its our children that are creating the terror in our neighborhood. The destructive behavior that some of our children choose to display should be not tolerated and we must start looking for the answers right in our own households and community.

Once we have the overdue conversations with our children and with each other as parents, community leaders etc. We must make our children a priority and take leadership as parents, leaders, mentors, in providing and creating a neighborhood that is safe and taking a close look of what is already in place and work with each other The City of New Haven, New Haven Police Department, Board of Education, Park Recreation to open the schools in the neighborhoods and create safe havens for our youth and parents.

However none of the above will work if we fail to come together as a community and volunteer our time to our youth and give them the support they rightly deserve. This plan must also include the continued and expanded involvement of the Connecticut Mental Health, Yale Child Study Center and Yale University to assist in providing the programs and curriculum and a comprehensive plan to present to the city and all its departments for an after-school program addressing the human,health social, educational and recreational needs of all of our youth and families throughout the entire city.

Posted by: Tom Burns | January 9, 2010 12:57 AM

Mr. Willie Greene has summed it up pretty nicely---now what?

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