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Community organizing to prevent youth violence



Rochester, New York – Since 2011, the number of shooting victims 18 years old and younger has increased year.

With 60 shooting victims so far, RPD reports this year is the highest on record.

According to Melvin Cross with Pathways to Peace, his team is working to prevent violence in schools and neighborhoods daily.

“We’re engaging people who are either on the streets or potentially be a part of this lifestyle. we’re engaging them right where they are,” Cross said, “We do on average per week 15-20 meditations. Within those mediations, we’re coming up with resolutions, conflict management, all of that stuff. We have a pretty good success rate with those mediations but again we can’t prevent everything.”

It takes the entire community to intervene to stop violence, Cross said.

On Thursday the Community Safety Task Force Coalition invited the public to a training session to learn about violence intervention. Renee Joyner attended Thursday’s session looking to join the effort in saving Rochester youth from violent crime.

“We save our youth, we save ourselves, said  Joyner. “If we utilize some of the skills they’re telling us, I think one by one, we will reach these kids and make them understand that they matter and give them more self-worth.”

Another session is scheduled for this Saturday, 2-4 pm at the Frederik Douglass Community Center.

Mayor-Elect Malik Evans issued a statement on recent violence:

“Last Tuesday, on Election Day, November 2nd, a 15-year-old was murdered. A week later, on Tuesday, November 9th, multiple teenagers were shot in one night. Early this morning, Rochester marked its 70th homicide with the slaying of two individuals on Chestnut and Elm Streets. Most alarming is the sheer number of teens that have been shot this year. Sixty people under the age of 18 have been shot in 2021. Violence in our city has become an all too common occurrence. I want to reiterate that we as a community must not let violence become normalized. We are in a state of emergency, and we must have a “whole community” approach to solve this issue. As part of my transition, we will be pulling together all who are willing to help tackle the scourge of violence in our community. The government cannot and will not solve this problem alone. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of these most recent slayings.”

“I look forward to engaging with our community as we seek transformative, systemic change.”