Community voices concerns, seeks solutions in gun violence forum

One Lexington holds community forum to address gun violence
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 11:06 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Community members voiced their concerns and tried to offer solutions in a forum on gun violence, hosted by One Lexington at the Lexington Public Library’s Eastside Branch.

" It really does take a village to raise a child,” said retired teacher LaMont Jones. “Each of us has a stake in the security of our village.”

Jones and several others stepped to the microphone, with this village’s youth in mind. Susan McLaughlin teaches at Lafayette High School and she’s seen young lives being lost for years.

”This paper was written by three of my students who were classmates with Trinity Gay,” said McLaughlin.

The letter digs to find just how the deep the roots of gun violence have grown, all within her own classroom.

“I was writing this paper literally this weekend five years ago,” McLaughlin said.

“[The students] had experienced something like one death every six weeks,” McLaughlin added. “They listed out 21 different people that they had connection to...that died in the last 18 months.”

McLaughlin says especially post-pandemic, her students lack a creative or recreational outlet.

”What do kids do on a Saturday night?” said McLaughlin. “There aren’t activities out there for students who don’t have the affluence to afford them.”

Dr. Brittany Gentry says there are further struggles when it comes to dealing with issues of trauma and mental health.

”If they’re telling themselves they’re not accepted, they’re not wanted, they’re not good enough - that’s depression,” said Dr. Gentry.

She says a child who is not accepted by the village will burn it to the ground to feel its warmth.

“The gun is simply an extension of what’s in here (their heart) and what’s up here (their mind),” Jones said. “You need to get that straight.”

As this village and its people work through their emotions and work on solutions, Devine Carama asks for patience.

”I just don’t want you to lose your morale,” said Carama, who directs One Lexington. “We just got to stay together, we got to keep pushing forward. Times are going to be better.”