What is city doing to stop gun violence in Toledo?

Young people spoke in the second town hall of the mayors’ initiative about what they are seeing at home and in their neighborhood to reduce gun violence.

TOLEDO, Ohio – Dozens gathered at Woodward High School for the mayors’ initiative second town hall on Saturday to reduce gun violence.

Unlike the first meeting in April, this meeting included the youth, key voices that the organizers say are needed to find solutions.

During a breakout session, organizers asked teenage participants what they see in the community about gun violence. One teenager replied, “Friends are dying.”

“We had children who talked a lot about what they think was necessary,” said Jojuan Armor, program manager for the initiative. “They talked a lot about what they see and we empower them to be part of the change.”

RELATED: The community comes together to hear and offer solutions to the growing problem of gun violence in the city

Armor emphasized that every event is set up to be heard from every part of the city.

“When they get to the north side, they’ll have their own issues,” Armor said. “Because what you see in Woodward and the north may be different from what you see in the south and east.”

Melvin Jackson III founded the Dominion MVP Foundation, a local youth agency serving nonprofits. The youngest graduate of Bowling Green State University says youth programming must be a priority this summer.

“Young people want to be invested and right now they don’t feel like they are being invested,” said Jackson, “and that’s what ultimately creates gun violence and things like that.”

Here is the full youth program unveiled at the 2nd Gun Violence Town Hall in Toledo! pic.twitter.com/IhuWNBIsog

– Michael Tatar (@MichaelTatarTV) May 16, 2021

Whiteboards with dozens of programs already running or slated for this summer were on display. Armor agreed that children need activities, such as sports and the arts, that keep them and their talents occupied.

“Whatever a child wants to do to keep them busy and they feel passionate, we want to encourage,” he said.

RELATED: JoJuan Armour’s Search For Team Members To Fight Gun Violence In Toledo Begins

Armor says it’s time to listen to the youth and the adults don’t always know best.

“It’s not about what we can tell you is best for you,” he said. “It’s about you telling us how we can best serve you.”

The last town hall is Saturday May 21st at Waite High School.

Anyone wishing to attend in person must register for the event in advance and can do so by clicking here.

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