‘Gun violence among young African-Americans is a crisis,' says Black Commission at emergency meeting

Community activists, organizations and stakeholders spoke out against gun violence, which they called a crisis.

The meeting took place just one day after a gang-related mass shooting left one person dead and five others injured and two days after another shooting left 24-year-old Quartz Walden dead.

Dozens gathered at the "emergency meeting," which was coordinated by the Black Commission, whose leaders say "gun violence among young African-Americans is a crisis."

Some at the meeting had experienced the loss of a loved one to gun violence in their immediate families, including Sissy Shepard, mother of Keegan Roberts, and Latasha Hobbs, mother of Maurice Hobbs.

“People are upset and outraged about the community,” said Shepard. “What’s going on in our community."

“We need to find some sort of medium,” said Hobbs. “Some sort of common ground for all of us to become unified."

Black Commission CEO Diallo-Sekou Seabrooks spoke about concerns such as low self-esteem and lack of jobs as core issues he says fuel gun violence in our streets. Other issues discussed by the commission included a lack of mental health resources and the violent environments in which kids are raised.

Action News Jax asked District 10 City Councilman Terrance Freeman, who had attended the meeting, what he believed could be a potential cure to the violence.

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“When I talk to people and I ask them what could change the scenario for them, they said a job,” said Freeman.  “Being able to earn an income.”

He tells Action News Jax communication between the city and stakeholders is essential.

“It’s going to take a village to protect these kids,” he said. “We always say a village to raise them. Well it’s going to take a village to protect them."