Participants in gun violence discussion say families are key to prevention

Mar 22, 2013

There are no simple answers to ways to end the gun violence that plagues the city of Syracuse.  But a discussion called, "Stop the Violence" at the Landmark Theatre last night, looked at the root causes of violent behavior among youth, and how that can lead to answers.

Keynote speaker actor and director Khalil Kain, was able to get off the streets of New York City, and used his story to make a point about the youth trapped in street violence.

"We have to open their eyes to a new circumstance.  And God bless my mother.  I love this woman so much.  She did that for me.  She would show me pictures of a beach in Hawaii, check out the pyramids in Egypt -- showing me there was a whole other world out there, not just my block which was nasty as hell," said Khalil

And some panelists, like Syracuse Common Councilor Khalid Bey, put that responsibility on the family.

"A big part of helping us solving the problem is each and every one of us being responsible for the people that we are responsible for," said Bey.

Helen Hudson, a common councilor and founder of Mothers against Gun Violence says youth need to know they are loved.

"We have to support them, and continue to show them opportunities and open doors for them. That's my role, that's our role and that's what we'll continue to do," said Hudson. "We can't legislate our way out of this. We have to change the mindset, we have to change the culture within our communities, and we have to start getting through to our young people and their thought process. You can write any law in the world you want to write, where are we now with all the laws we have?  It's the mindset and it's the culture."

Mayor Stephanie Miner says she hopes the discussion continues. "We go from here, talking about a message of peace, talking about decisions young people make, telling them they're cared for that there are other alternatives, and saying look you are your brothers and sisters keepers," said the mayor.