South Florida pastors mobilize to stop gun violence
MIAMI - Ericka Ancrum has not erased of her memory the moment her 17-year-old nephew was fatally shot in front of her house.
"He said I can't breathe and he didn't say anything else," said Ancrum, who is the voice of many families who have lost a loved one to gun violence.
Clinton Young Jr. was 17 years old when he died in a drive-by shooting right in front of his aunt's house in the spring of 2021.
"We know that down south is getting worse than up north," said pastor Lorenzo Johnson, who leads an organization called the Community Youth Against Violence. This Thursday, the group urged pastors to work together to reverse gun crimes in areas like where Ancrum's nephew was murdered.
Under the initiative "Bring the Village Back to the Churches," pastors want to reach out to the community. The hope is the program, which also urges pastors to tackle crime by working together, will work on developing structure in the households. They say some families have a harder time juggling children and work.
According to pastor Johnson, it's about educating parents.
"A 12-year-old kid should not be walking down the street and a parent home sleeping," said pastor Lorenzo.
However, Goulds Panthers track and field coach David Jacques, says the problem is the lack of activities for young people.
"I believe talking to the kids directly is a more effective solution. Making plans for the kids to participate in activities where there is basketball, football, sports," reiterated Jacques, underscoring the need to have alternatives for young people at night.
"Someone's got to do something and that's a start," responded Ancrum, who said that nobody was ever arrested for the death of her nephew.
She fears if nothing is done to control gun violence in SW Miami-Dade, the tragedy her family faced will occur again.
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