JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – A new coalition is pushing for peace and preparing to take to the streets to fight crime in the city.
“It’s kind of like a lifeline that we throw to our community, but it’s up to our community to grab the lifeline,” Shamal Carter, a community activist and president of the new Coalition Against Violencesaid.
“There are second, third and fourth generation drug dealers who get violent because they have to protect their turf,” Carter said.
Carter is behind the coalition and works with a group of stakeholders who have come together to address the issue of violence.
“It’s easy to talk about it,” Carter said. “It’s time to put deeds behind our words.”
The group of police, activists, religious leaders and community members held their first meeting on Monday to put those words into action.
For Carter, it starts with building trust with those who commit the crimes through community events and mentorship programs.
Carter said the new coalition’s first action is to work with everyone involved to get the mentors in the lives of young people down the wrong path. “Someone has to make them listen,” Carter said. “If they don’t listen to mom and dad they have to listen to someone and if they don’t listen to someone they are either going to be carried by six or judged by 12.” From there, it is a question of acting. Carter wants community events and community engagement from all parts of the city.
“Together in numbers we are strong, but when we are divided we will fail every time,” Carter said. Carter doesn’t just want to focus on areas where crime is known, because in Carter’s mind, everyone plays a role in making the city a safer place to live and for many people who commit crimes. , they obtain used weapons from more affluent areas of the city. “These guns they have in their hands are from home because they leave their doors unlocked and their guns in their cars so my message to them is yes you have the same problem we have here in northern Jonesboro.
By addressing the issue of violence as one community, Carter believes violence can be stopped…and lives can be saved. “I can still save my youth,” he said. “When it comes to an adult, an adult is going to be an adult and an adult is going to do what an adult wants to do.”
The Stop the Violence Coalition is looking for community members from all walks of life to get involved.
Its next meeting will be October 3 at the Parker Park Community Center.
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