Leaders In African American Community Seek To Stop The Violence - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Leaders In African American Community Seek To Stop The Violence

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

A panel of African American community leaders in Columbus say they want the violence within their race to stop.

Dozens gathered at the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in downtown Columbus Thursday night as Pastor Charles E. Booth spoke to the community.

"We must have young people, in particular young people who are in the gang element as a part of this discussion because ultimately it affects them," said Booth.

From the crime they commit, to how it affects their family and neighborhood, Stephanie Hightower, the president of the Columbus Urban League the organization is taking action by no longer allowing young people to perpetuate certain images.

"When you come into the Columbus urban league building now, if your pants are sagging, you don't get any service," said Hightower.

Former Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gene Harris says the goal is to mentor inner city kids, but leaders are having trouble attracting mentors.

"I am sorry to say that it is pitiful the percentage of African Americans who have stepped up to the plate," said Harris.

The group wants to hit a home run, but says it starts from home.

Group leaders said they may consider hitting the streets to talk about positive behavior and enact positive change.

"Everything begins with dialogue but it certainly cannot end with a conversation. We must be called to action," said Betty Lovelace, an associate minister at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.

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