ONE Lexington releases end-of-year report on gun violence

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 5:59 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - ONE Lexington Director Devine Carama is taking on another one of his many community programs. This time he and his team are loading up and delivering 500 hundred food bags to youth and their families for the holidays.

“It’s just community building, relationship building, building trust with the community that we serve,” Carama said.

Carama wants to continue to build on these types of projects into the new year.

“We got a lot of different programs going on but we got more that we want to start in 2022,” Carama said.

He hopes these types of actions translate into peace in the city.

“We want these young kids to know that men can come together and it doesn’t have to be a gang,” Carama said.

Carama took the director’s position at ONE Lexington back in May. His end-of-year report shows dozens of new programming and prevention efforts were created in July to help reduce violence. However, it also shows the city had a record 36 homicides by gun in 2021.

Fourteen of those homicides happened after those new programs were created. Sixty-one percent of homicide victims were adults over 25 years of age, and a staggering 86 percent of homicide victims have been African American.

“I’m not a savior and we’re not going to see any gains in six months, it’s gonna take a lot longer than that,” Carama said.

Carama cites the pandemic, a reduction in the police force, and city population growth as reasons for the increased homicide rate.

“I think we kind of saw this coming and a lot of it is out our control but there are some systemic things we can do as a community,” Carama said.

The food bags were handed out at the Charles Young Center.

“We know we’re not going to stop gun violence by passing food out. Maybe not in a vacuum but we do believe we are starting a culture of service a culture of togetherness and we want these young people to see that,” Carama said.

He’s optimistic about One Lexington’s future as additional government funding is on the way for the program in 2022.

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