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‘Get to the root.’ Community members share solutions for youth violence at On The Table Macon

Across Macon, thousands gathered Wednesday for the second On the Table event.

The event, sponsored by the Community Foundation of Central Georgia and the Knight Foundation, encouraged people to come together to talk about important issues over a meal.

As part of the On the Table event, The Telegraph and its Center for Collaborative Journalism partners Georgia Public Broadcasting Macon and 13WMAZ, hosted sessions as part of the Peacing Together reporting project. That project is working with the community to explore solutions to youth violence in Macon.

Anisah Muhammad, journalism student, Mercer University attended a session Wednesday morning at Francar’s in Mercer Village, and shared some of what she heard.

Sundra Woodford, community relations manager, Macon Area Habitat for Humanity, member of the Bibb County Board of Education, and founder,Youth Ambassadors, program for African American boys

“I have been working with a cohort of boys in the Lynmore Estates neighborhood. I hope that project will become a pilot. . .I have written grants to get funding to provide a stipend for them, and they help us with senior’s (home) repairs.”

Janice Loyd, school improvement coordinator, Bibb County School District

Sometimes it goes back beyond the child. It goes back to the parent in the home . . .We have to get to the root cause (of problems) before we can even teach them how to read, how to write and how to become self-sufficient.”

Marc Treadwell, judge, U.S. District

“I don’t think there’s an awareness on the street about consequences of that illegal gun trade and illegal gun ownership. If there was that awareness, would that lead to fewer people having guns, and would that lead to less violence?”

Julia Rubens, director of arts marketing, Mercer University

“We were talking about at the Grand (Opera House)...what if we had an arts-based community dialogue program on violence prevention?”

Ethan Thompson, journalism student, Mercer University attended an afternoon session at Lanford Library.

Moranda Guy, community member

“Don’t let other people pass these (negative values) into your kids... we have to not just talk to our kids, we have to show them. I think that we need to... take the time to let them know the importance of the (positive) values.”

Johnny Thomas, community member

“It’s got to start at home... the older people should encourage them the same way (as home.) They don’t have to be your children, they’re your community children, they’re still your children...Let them know you love and you care about ‘em. Let them know there are doing good things, in front of them.”

Tracy Murray, community member

“Catch them being good. If you see a kid doing a good thing, even if you don’t know that child, if you’re just in the grocery store, and you can say to that mom, ‘Oh what a good helper you have helping you with the groceries!’, and that kid’ll be like, “Yeah!’”

Meg Oldham, a journalism student, Mercer University attended another afternoon session at Shurling Library.

Julia Washington, community member

“We don’t need to wait until they get to a certain age, because it’s too late. … we need to start young. … if we can get them off the corner and get some jobs and get some activity, it would be a little better with us in the neighborhood.”

Lisa Ibekwe, community member

“If I’m a child, and I know I leave school, and I go back to a neighborhood where there’s going to be gun violence, there’s going to be gangs… I’m going to get caught up in what’s happening, if my church is open, and I have somewhere to go after hours... I now have a safe space.”

Aliyah Dorsey, journalism student, Mercer University was at the partnership’s last On the Table event at 6:30 Wednesday night at the CCJ offices.

Thomas Duval,community member

“We have a great and glorious history in Macon, middle Georgia and throughout the state. If we’re gonna stop this we have to take an upstream approach and share the history and culture with these kids”

Amari Stubbs, community member

“There’s a lot that goes on that nobody knows about..some people say if you drop a drop of coffee in a tank of water the whole thing is gonna turn brown, but if you don’t acknowledge that it’s brown how are you gonna clean the water out”

Follow more of our reporting on Youth violence in Middle Georgia: Why This Matters

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