MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 13-year-old was shot in Frayser Wednesday morning but thankfully is expecting to make a full recovery. Frayser community members spoke about what they’re urging leaders to do to prevent youth violence.
“Get in the streets and not just stand beside the street activist at a moment when we have lost a child, but before and they need to reach out to us because there’s a lot of activists out here that are really meaning well for their particular community,” Frayser resident Paula Buress said.
“First and foremost, us as a community whole, we have to get out here and what we've got to do 'cause they’re our children. You see what I’m saying? Like it’s not about nothing else but our kids,” Casio Montez, a local activist, said.
The two are urging leaders to take initiative and get to the root of the problem instead of simply reacting to violent issues.
“If they don’t know other ways to do anything else but crime, what else can they do to resolve financial stability?” Montez said. “So, you've got to get out here and see what’s going on versus hearing what’s going on and you’re trynna fix a problem just off what you heard. Get out here and put your eyes and your hands on things.”
That’s what one local leader, Reginald Milton, said he’s working to do.
“I understand what it means to be in this community trying to make your community safer, better and not feeling there’s anyone out there that’s helping to support you,” Milton said. “And my effort will be to be that person out there with them.”
Community members said they’re tired.
“People in Memphis are absolutely tired and we want to make a difference, we want to live in our communities and feel safe,” Buress said.
Activists are not only hoping these leaders will work to prevent violence but expect them to.
“It’s time to come out of them offices, it’s time to cut your lunch break short and get out in these communities if you care,” Montez said.
The three have been put in touch with each other to start working on change not just in Frayser, but in all of Memphis.
“Know that we care as well, we’re going to make this better, we have no choice,” Milton said. “These are our young people, they’re our responsibility and if we don’t do this, we have failed them as well as ourselves.”