Grassroots and community groups work to curb youth crime


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — In spite of the spike in violent crime, some being committed by young people, there are efforts by grassroots and community organizations to help stem the tide, and help keep youth on the right path.

7th Ward Community Activist Byron Cole of the group Father’s Advocacy stated, “We have a reward system for our youth. We take them one at a time, as they come here or are brought here or we catch them coming down the street. And we tell them respect, reciprocity. You need me to show you some things and I need you to do some things for me but the things I need you to do for me but the difference is everything I need you to do for me is just what you need to do for yourself.”

While some may consider these gestures small, others like Tamara Jackson of the non-profit Silence is Violence understands the value of the grassroots work.

According to Jackson, “The community organizations, particularly grassroots organizations are on the ground. We’re boots on the ground. And in that we make social connections and community connections, but our children need to know that we actually care.”

‘Chosen One’ served 10 years in prison, he came home recently and even does his part to deter young men in his neighborhood from making the mistakes he made, “A lot of these lil dudes, when I see them I talk to them. One of them was about to rob my car, I said ‘look this is not what you want and don’t do that because you don’t know what’s behind this tint.’

Ernest Johnson is the director of the non profit Ubuntu Village and they apply a holistic approach to helping system-involved youth and their families. He also support community efforts and says that solving these issues of youth crime rests on the shoulder of this community.

“We can’t expect anyone to come from an outside entity to save us, we have to save ourselves. And when I say save ourselves I mean we have to put in our resources, we have to trust and we have to hope that we can do something to change this kind of behavior in our community, for the better of our own communities.”

If you’d like to contribute to any of the community organizations in this story, click the links below:

Byron Cole Father’s Advocacy

Silence is Violence

Ubuntu Village

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