Birmingham community speaks out against violence - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Birmingham community speaks out against violence

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It is woefully clear to those who live in Birmingham there is a serious problem with black on black crime. Particularly the killing of young black men. Many fear an entire generation of young men are being wiped out by their peers.

Sergeant Johnny Williams with the Birmingham police department says 13 black males between the ages 15 and 25 have been victims to homicide in 2013 alone. Police cannot can't fix this problem alone.

There are people out in the community working against violence. They say people can't wait for the big events; the marches, the rallies, the protests. It's the seemingly small steps that culminate in a  big difference.

"I had several instances of counselors and different male help programs, not necessarily to keep me from falling off the tracks but just to be a guiding light," said Jordan Croft, a twenty-one year old sophomore at the University of West Alabama.

The Birmingham native says it's sad to come home and see the violence among young men his age.

"It's depressing. It suck honestly. I feel like the situation could be a lot better and handled a lot better," he said.

Croft says black males in their teens and twenties need to be exposed to possibilities beyond their own neighborhoods. Which is what he did today, at the Birmingham civil rights institute, Croft hosted a college prep seminar.

About half of the students in attendance were black males. Croft also acknowledges there is a need for people who have escaped a violent environment to tell others how to do it. People like Dwayne Thompson, founder of Youth Against Violence.

"In the early nineties I buried more than forty of my friends, not people I didn't know that I lost to senseless violence. So I'm very familiar," said Thompson.

Thomspon says young men caught up in violence usually tell him they don't do better because they don't know any better.

"Most of the time it's their culture. It's all that they're doing. It's all that they've be taught. And you can't expect a person to respond to a situation that they have not been equipped to respond to," he said.

Thompson says he's been in touch with city leaders about starting a non-violence campaign at the start of this upcoming school year, and plans to have several activities throughout the year.

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