Local youth leaders call for action in light of recent violence - WSMV News 4

Local youth leaders call for action in light of recent violence

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Earl Jordan (center) meets with parents who lost their children to violence to call for solutions. (WSMV) Earl Jordan (center) meets with parents who lost their children to violence to call for solutions. (WSMV)

Many are grieving the death of 15-year-old Jeremiah Shelton after he was shot to death at the Berkshire Apartments.

Police say 19-year-old Joshua Hockett was play fighting with Shelton when he accidentally shot him.

Local youth leaders claim there’s an obvious need that isn’t being addressed by the city. They say it’s time to speak out.

For eight years, the same straightforward, direct voice has been at Stratford STEM School.

“Hey, y’all be aggressive about this opportunity.”

It’s a voice that commands respect. After all, Executive Principal Michael Steele is a former Marine.

“We’ve got to quit having this message that kids who live in poverty should have to live in violence,” Steele said.

And Steele says that message has never been more important to his school.

The 15-year-old shot and killed outside the Berkshire Apartments Wednesday was not one of Steele’s students. But it happened less than a mile away from his school.

Steele’s calling for more of a response to teen violence from city leaders.

“I’ve lost probably between five and six students and former students in the past 18 months,” said Steele. “Conversation doesn’t get us anywhere without action. I want action, I want to see action. I’m tired of burying my students.”

“I am at a loss for words,” said Earl Jordan of Partners in the Struggle.

Across the city, Jordan appears with parents who have lost their children to violence.

“These tears are for every kid that we’ve lost in our city,” said Jordan. “I’m so tired of seeing precious lives, our futures gone.”

For his part, Steele says he’s here to foster positive relationship building with adult role models. And he’s in support of any effort to keep from losing another student.

Thursday’s Partners in the Struggle meeting called for more response to teen violence from the mayor’s office and an emphasis on young people knowing the ramifications of their actions.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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