The Columbus Urban League is trying to interrupt this sort of violence before it happens. The League says some tragic situations, like the shooting at the Easton Town Center, are examples of generational trauma being passed down.
“Our young people don’t have a lot of hope. They don’t have a lot of positive reinforcements out there. A lot of the adults are not mentoring kids the way they used to. And so when you see all of these different incidences happening, this is also about trauma,” President and CEO of Columbus Urban League Stephanie Hightower said.
It’s a cycle the non-profit is working to break.
“When you look at the tragic situation that happened at Easton, you have a generation of generational poverty that existed, you had generational gang-related activities,” Hightower said. “You have a father who was a gang member, and who was now deceased in the last couple of months, you have a brother who has now recently been incarcerated.”
“At this point, it’s what more do we need to do? Everything will be on the table. Everything is on the table when it comes to keeping young people safe. And all I’m asking for is partnership,” Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin said.
Hardin says it’s a call to the entire community: parents, teachers, religious and community leaders.
“What more can we do? If we’re all upset? And we’re all moved? How do we use these two young lives as a catalytic moment to get better?” Hardin said.
One way the Columbus Urban League is trying to help families is through violence intervention workers in neighborhoods and schools. They’re also thinking about adding resources to monitor social media, where they can spot the issues before it comes to violence.
“How do we really gain a true partnership with schools and with principals and with the safety officers so that if they know something’s going on, then we can reach out or they can reach out to us and we can go in and start with prevention strategies,” Hightower said.
Other things the League is looking at include reducing bullying, improving parent engagement and involvement and how to best help all parts of the family.