YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Community leaders held a public forum to address the violence in Youngstown at Wean Park on Sunday.
The two-hour community forum was full of passion and emotion.
“When we looked at the violence and the killings that’s in our cities, we were just overwhelmed with it, we knew that we had to do something,” said ACTION executive director Rosetta Carter.
Carter said they wanted to hear from the community. The forum gave people a platform to share their stories, questions and concerns surrounding the violence epidemic.
“We allowed different people, those that were victims, those that had had it in their family, those that was just tired of the violence, I live here in Youngstown and I’m afraid,” Carter said.
Community members addressed a panel of about 15 local experts and neighborhood leaders in the fields of mental health, social services, law enforcement, education and youth programs.
One of the biggest points community members and panelists brought up is that the city of Youngstown needs to get better at communicating and working together as one cohesive unit, which is why solution-based conversations are so important.
ACTION’s community organizer Vicki Vicars said it’s crucial that the city strengthens its conversations and transparency.
“One act of violence affects all of us and I was hoping that we would gain that sense of unity and perspective that we’re in this together, that we need to support one another and listen to one another,” Vicars said.
According to panelists, it all starts with the youth, by educating them earlier and providing them with proper resources to decrease the chances of them falling into the cycle of violence.