Locals begin their own initiative against violence
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
With the High Point Initiative in Chattanooga underway some locals are taking their own initiatives to try and stop gang violence.
Concern and hope fill the hearts and minds of these community members as they look for answers to fix what they call an expanding problem.
"What do we do otherwise? Do we stay at home and lament over the situation? No, we've got to do something about it," said Greg Beck, Hamilton County Commissioner.
Pastors, community leaders and concerned citizens met Thursday afternoon, looking for a solution to combat against gang violence.
"As the problem expands, efforts must expand as well whether it be grassroots efforts or government efforts or church," said Beck.
Skip Eberhardt says his goal is to bring the community closer together in hopes of bringing forth change.
"Everyone is so divided, there is so much division and I think that's what my scuffle is to try an remove the division," said Eberhardt. "That would be our main focus because we're losing too many kids."
Lydell Lovelace, a local pastor, tells Channel 3 he's been on the other side.
A drug addict in his youth, Lovelace says the roads some kids today are traveling, won't lead to good things.
"In my time if we had a disagreement we could settle it with communication, now they settle it with violence," said Lovelace.
However, Lovelace says it's not too lateand he hopes they're able to help so everyone can have a safe neighborhood.
"Even at the state they're in, they're not as far as I was, there's still hope," said Lovelace.
"I don't know how far to go or how long it's going to take to make a difference, but change is going to happen," said Beck. "If we can change one person or rescue any of the at risk kids then our efforts won't be in vain."
Eberhardt tells Channel 3 he does plan to hold more meetings in the near future.
The mayor's office says they have already built the foundation, done the crime mapping, and identified service providers for the high point initiative. The next step for full implementation is the call in meetings which will start in the next few weeks.