Community discusses fighting violence on MLK Day - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Community discusses fighting violence on MLK Day


Organizers of Martin Luther King Jr. events say they hoped to deliver a message of peace.

They wanted, at least one day, for the violence to stop, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.

It seems like, especially lately, that violence is all around us.

FOX28 talked to community leaders Monday about whether the fight against violence in our streets has made a difference.

One young man we talked to says he's seeing a difference among his peers.

Bluthers Casey, a rapper also known as "Yung Blu" says, "When I look into my community, I see theres a lot of poverty, a lot of crime, a lot of issues out there. But I'm starting to see there's a lot more programs coming into the community looking for the youth to be more involved."

"Yung Blu" is one of those young people getting involved in the community.

"I hosted a "Make music, Change the world" concert at the Kroc Center in which we went and bought toys for kids at the homeless shelter," he says.

"Yung Blu" says bringing an end to violence starts with getting young people to step up as leaders and he says he's noticed a shift over the past couple years. "I know plenty of friends who went down that path and now that there seeing I'm starting to take the other path they should be taking, a lot of them are starting to come different ways."

Other community leaders say the violence in South Bend is easing somewhat.

"According to SBPD, murders are down. Shootings are not down," says Gladys Muhammad-Ward, who helped organize Martin Luther King Junior Day events. She says things like mentoring youth are slowly working, and she's hoping another strategy, called "Don't Shoot," will help even more.

"The strategy has worked all around the country. It's part of the Mayor's initiative, here in South Bend," says Muhammad-Ward.

The "Don't Shoot" initiative was piloted in Boston in the 1990s and is being used in more than 70 cities nationwide.

We're told cities are using the program to target high-risk individuals and offering either help to turn things around, or letting them know police have an eye on them and violence will simply not be tolerated.

Muhammad-Ward says the initiative gets the whole community involved in getting the word out about using non-violent ways to solve problems.

 "We're moving in the right direction. As a community we have to look at violence in a whole community way. We've tried different strategies, but I don't know that we've tried the entire community getting involved," says Muhammad-Ward.

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