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Little Rock community, city leaders tackle violent crime at town hall

Addressing ways to tackle violence in Little Rock has been at the top of everyone's priorities. Both community members and city leaders met to discuss new ways.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Addressing and finding new ways to stop violence in Little Rock has been at the top of everyone's minds.

Second Baptist Church hosted town hall meeting titled "Courageous Conversations", acting as a place to discuss how to stop it.

"It won't get solved until we get several viewpoints and several ideas on either side to try and make things better," said Yolanda Harrison who, a town hall attendee.

Harrison was at Second Baptist looking for solutions and answers. Her past experiences with gun violence are what led her to be active in addressing violent crime.

"They [Little Rock] are involved more now, and I'm so happy that the city has decided to do more. Others are here because they have a love for the community and it really means a lot for me as a mother," she said. 

Harrison lost her son to gun violence a couple of years ago. That's what's driving her to be at this conversation, as the community seeks solutions.

"It helps me to cope, and it helps me to move forward and to give me strength, and knowing that I can help someone else," she said.

Harrison wasn't the only one there that was pushing for change though. 

The town hall saw more than 100 community members as many came out to both listen, and pose questions to city leaders like Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey and Mayor Frank Scott Jr.

Many asked questions to the panel, like Ron Watson, who specifically focused on early methods to engage kids in order to keep them off of the streets.

"Education to me is the primary key to making our streets safer," he said. "When you're uneducated, you can't make an educated decision."

He knows these conversations aren't a complete fix– they're just a starting point.

"Service is not just in a building, service is outside the building," Watson said. "It's when you reach out to someone and say, 'Hello, how can I help you?'"

Those in the attendance know that these conversations are an important part in finding solutions. The courageous conversations that will lead to a safer city.

"Everyone is fed up, just like I am fed up. Like so many other mothers or fathers who are fed up of the violent crimes going on in the city," Harrison said. "That really makes us all feel good that everyone wants to step in and do their part now."

An organizer said that they are hopeful that these conversations are going to be continued in the future.


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