DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Community activists are hearing from the younger generation about what they can do to put an end to gun violence.
This comes one week after a 14-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed two young women.
14-year-old Vincent Oliver Jr. Is accused of killing Jasmine Bean and Ja’Lexius wells at a get-together in Dothan last Sunday.
He is charged as a juvenile with two counts of capital murder, which if convicted could face life in prison with or without parole.
Kenneth Glasgow and Derrick Oliver, two community activists decided to gather some of Oliver Jr.’s classmates aged 9 to 16 in one room.
“So we are asking the youth, ‘What do you need?’ We’re trying to hear from them,” Derrick Oliver said. “So we will go in the right direction.”
To see how they can help put a stop to the gun violence, which over the past few weeks has claimed three lives of young people.
“These youth said that they’re going to do this because we’re not doing enough and so with us not doing enough as older people they are going to get out here and do it themselves,” Kenneth Glasgow said. “They don’t call it stop the violence. They call it stop the madness.”
The kids say the best way to stop gun violence is by finding ways to stay occupied.
“Get them something to do,” Oliver said. “Make sure that they have the financial means legally to do the things they need to do. So they can be more constructive in the community.
And using another way to get out the aggression, rather than using a gun.
“So boxing is going to take care of the aggression,” Glasgow said. “It’s going to take care of their emotional needs. It’s going to take care of the anger issues and everything they are going through that’s causing them to shoot each other and that comes from them. That doesn’t even come from me.”
A few ideas that were developed were working on the youth center that is next to Moma Tina’s, which just served hundreds of meals on Thanksgiving.
Finding employment opportunities for the kids that are old enough to work, and finding ways to get the guns out of the hands of the younger generation.
“We need more mentors,” Glasgow said. “We are definitely going to need more volunteers and mentors. They said that they would go to these rec centers and all of this. If they had someone to pay for it. They don’t have the means to pay for it.”
Glasgow and Oliver hope that this meeting with the kids is just the start of something that will strike permanent change in the Circle City.