Community works on solutions to stop violence - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Community works on solutions to stop violence

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Tuesday was the first step in what organizers hope will be many towards a solution to Waterloo's violence.

"We Are The Village" was hosted by the Waterloo NAACP and held at the Center for The Arts.

The event welcomed community members of all backgrounds to come together and work on proactive ways to cut down on the city's violence.

Waterloo has had three murders this year, the victims were all under the age of 23.

Otavious Brown gunned down on Logan Avenue in July. His suspected killers are awaiting trial.

Then this month, Darrell Lanier and Talasa Wright were shot and killed in separate incidents. Their killers are still out there.

Community members at Tuesday's meeting are stepping up and asking, 'how can we help?'

"It is our young people dying and we are sitting in our homes like it does not matter. So tonight, we are going to come up with some solutions and we are going to work together to figure out how to solve this problem," said Waterloo NAACP President LaTanya Graves.

"We are dealing with a lot of kids that are saying, 'You want me to put a gun down? Someone is trying to kill me,'" said Waterloo Neighborhood Services Coordinator Felicia Smith-Nalls.

In order to change that, people are rolling up there sleeves and working on creating solutions.

"These kids need somebody. They don't need us to just talk all day and every day about what we can and can't do. We can change this community. Waterloo is small. We were built on community," said one crowd member during an open discussion.

The groups filled out forms with their ideas that "We Are A Village" plans to go through and set up work groups to start implementing the suggestions.

A common thread during the discussion was the need for more mentoring.

For more information on how to get involved: http://www.waterloonaacp.org/contact-us.html

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