Gang members initiate meeting to find solutions, stop the violen - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Gang members initiate meeting to find solutions, stop the violence

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Some of Chattanooga's self-proclaimed gang members are putting the weapons aside to stop the killings on city streets.

Last week alone, three people lost their lives, and many more injured, to gun violence. Now gang members are reaching to the community for help.
The meeting at the Olivet Baptist Church Kingdom Center was initiated by three men who have been associated with gangs or group members. The crowd of about 80 people was brainstorming ways to turn people who have been in trouble with the law, into positive members of the community.

"I was looked at as a leader of one of the groups of one of the bad guy things," said Norman Williams, "So why can't I be a leader to be looked at to do what's right?"

Williams will tell you himself, he's not perfect. And he's made mistakes in the past.

"I've been to juvenile, I've been to prison twice," Williams said, "I have done everything there is to do negative and I'm sorry that it took all this violence for us to come together like we're coming together now."

Williams and two other self-proclaimed gang members organized the meeting to find a solution, instead of just being part of the problem.
 One place to start, they said,  is to focus on jobs.

 "A lot of the dope being sold will stop, a lot of the robbings will stop, a lot of the killings will stop," Williams said, "We will be more than proud to work Monday through Friday."

Also at the meeting was Marques Williams -- he now works with the VRI crisis hotline, but says he used to be a gang member.  He's now offering to counsel anyone else looking to do the same.
"My children was really the reason why I  wanted to make a change," said Williams, "Because I didn't want them to go through the same things that their dad did, being involved in a gang and the dope selling, you know."

Norman Williams and two others sat down with Mayor Andy Berke for about an hour on Thursday, before they attended the meeting at Kingdom Center. They approached him with their concerns and Williams said the meeting was positive. He's hopeful this conversation will be the first step to ending the violence in Chattanooga.


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