Sikeston community leaders hold forum to stop violence

Sikeston community leaders hold forum to stop violence

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - So many times, we hear calls for change after something violent happens in a town. In Sikeston, community leaders decided to take action.

"The thought started with people on Facebook and phone calls," organizer Harry Howard said.

Howard said with gun violence happening so often in Sikeston, he knew it was his duty to bring the community together.

"I just felt the urge and luckily God has put me into a position of leadership to call these people together," Howard said. "But I didn't expect this type of reaction."

More than two dozen people, including law enforcement and counselors, came to figure out how they can put a stop to violence.

They split into small groups to discuss issues such as the lack of jobs, ways to help repeat offenders and mentorships for the youth.

In the crowd of mostly adults, a dance group of young girls joined in for a different perspective.

Dance group creator, Shanda Jones, said it was imperative to bring them to the forum.

"I wanted them to come to see what part they can play in it to help," Jones said. "So they can reach out to their friends, so they can say, 'this is what we want you guys to do as well.'"

In the past, organizers of this event held marches to help put an end to violence.

Jones said change will take time, but forums like this are needed for the community to move forward.

"Of course we know that it can't stop overnight," Jones said. "But we can have our voice and just keep on being a community coming together, so that we can have a plan to start stopping it."

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