The week after Thanksgiving, OneJax, a local interfaith organization held their first Civil Discourse dialogue forum on Thursday, November 28th at WJCT studios. The topic for the evening was “Youth Violence in Jacksonville.”
The evening started with small group discussions and a moderated panel featuring panelist Tessa Duvall, (Florida Times Union), Micah Owens (UF Health), L.E. Hutton (Chief Assistant State Attorney), Darnell Smith (Florida Blue), and Ellis Curry (Violence Prevention Advocate).
Facilitators and community advocates were paired at various tables to engage in conversations about youth violence with the goal of capturing ideas and possible solutions. The areas of discussion included focusing on meeting the needs of young people socially, emotionally, intellectually, spiritual and financially.
Groups also addressed the needs of disenfranchised youth, especially young men between the ages of 16 and 25, the most likely targets for and perpetrators of violence.
Currently, Jacksonville’s crime rate boasts 94 murders spread throughout Duval County. Attendees also admonished local mass media outlets for painting a picture that all crime happens in predominately black Northside of town.
OneJax is a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote diversity as the foundation for a strong community to increase respect and improve relationships among people who represent the rich menagerie of religious, ethnic, racial and cultural groups that compose our community.