Youth violence hurts communities
September 9th, 2011
Omaha, NE – The University of Nebraska Medical Center hosted its weekly Science CafÃ©, with a discussion on youth violence in Omaha this week. A mother, who lost her son in a gang-related shooting, shared her personal story with KVNO News after the event.
In a packed room at the Slowdown in north downtown Omaha, Sherri Brown listened as community groups discussed ways to tackle youth violence. â€œItâ€™s a battle out here in the streets just like Afghanistan and other places,” she said. “War is going on, and I feel like these children are losing their lives (in) this worldly war.â€
Brownâ€™s son was murdered in 1997, in what she believes was a gang-related shooting. Her eyes started to water as she shared the story of a recent encounter with the person responsible for her sonâ€™s death.
â€œHe walked up to me, and he says Ms. Brown… And, I looked… He said I just wanted to take this opportunity to talk to you. I didnâ€™t know who he was still until…he said I am so, so sorry,” she recalled. “Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, and the only thing I could ask him was if he could just walk away.”
Dorris Moore, the CEO of the Center for Holistic Development Inc, said when a community, or family, tragically loses loved ones, people may need to seek professional help.
â€œIt means you have a lot of people in the community that are hurting,” Moore said. “I believe that hurt people hurt people. Thatâ€™s what I see happening a lot with some of the violence thatâ€™s going on. People that are hurting look for solutions in things that they know to do, and donâ€™t have a good vehicle to express themselves in other ways. They kind of continue the cycles of hurting one another.â€
Moore said the biggest challenge is getting people through the door.
Sherri Brown said while she believes her sonâ€™s murder was related to street gangs, the bigger problem is that young men in the community donâ€™t have a sense of belonging. She also said it might be time for sons and fathers to seeking counseling too.
â€œWhen men go and have babies and then they donâ€™t stay and take care of their responsibilities,” she said. “The children have to grow up without him, and then thereâ€™s chaos.â€
Brown said itâ€™s time for the community to stop simply talking about change, and start doing something about it.