Political strategies

Police and residents discuss strategies to address Youngstown violence

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — About 50 people gathered on Market Street on Saturday for Youngstown’s “Stop the Violence” effort for this year, which kicked off with a press conference and prayer rally.

Mayor Tito Brown, several other elected officials and law enforcement were on hand to discuss ending the violence in the city.

“In a row we’ve seen violence, we’ve seen pain, we’ve seen little children get caught in the crossfire and get hurt and killed,” said Youngstown resident Lynette Miller.

Reverend Kenneth Simon of New Bethel Baptist Church is one of the leaders of this effort. He said it was crucial for the city to change its culture so that violence was not tolerated.

“It seems that we have accepted violence in our community as the norm, that it happens all the time. We hear gunshots every day, every night – and people have become numb to it,” Simon said.

The aim is to involve the whole community, not just one group or organization, and the campaign is multi-faceted. Reverend Simon told me last year that they partnered with the Youngstown Police Department to provide training for those interested in mentoring young people.

They also provided mediation training and a messaging campaign where “Stop the Violence” signs were placed in the community. This year, the group will continue to offer this training, but they are adding another component — parenting.

“These children, increasingly younger, are involved in violence – 13-year-olds, 11-year-olds involved in violence. Parents need support, parents need resources, parents need training,” Simon said.

Getting everyone involved in the conversation is key.

“We are the future. It doesn’t matter where you are, how you grew up, it doesn’t matter – we are the future and if we constantly kill each other, there will be no future,” Lekeila said. Houser with Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.

Sign up sheets are at New Bethel Baptist Church in Youngstown for anyone interested in getting involved or training.