Jackson community members meet to discuss gun violence in the city

JACKSON, Mich. (WILX)- Concerned parents and kids were among those who gathered in the city of Jackson on Thursday night, to search for a solution to gun violence.

Since the middle of July, six people have been killed in shootings. That's why a panel of Jackson's leaders from the police chief to religious leaders sat in front of the more than 100 people to search for answers to the gun violence in the city. "This is not the time to point fingers, we're coming together to collectively figure out what we can do," said organizer Lee Hampton.

Leaders and organizers answered questions about the recent violence before the crowd was able to ask questions, or offer suggestions towards a solution.

"I had to bring my son just to let him know that there are children out here who do not have fathers, and just the violence that's taking the parents away from their children and the children away from their parents, and that cycle needs to stop," says Lavar Robinson.

Some at the meeting believe the root of the issue is guns, some believe it's access to drugs and alcohol, and others say it starts in the homes.

That's where some community members, like Joan Lewis, say the effort needs to start:

"This is a small step for our society and how we feel about ourselves," Lewis explains. "There's children at home right now that [are] being called the worst things possible. And when you grow up in that type of household, you're more likely to grow up to be an alcoholic or a drug addict, et cetera."

Organizers say hearing all this feedback is vital to working to find solutions, whatever those might be.

John Willis says community leaders may not be able to understand the actual issues otherwise:

"An analogy to me would be I live in a house and the roof of my house is leaking inside. But you ride by and you say oh you know what that house needs is a window, so you buy a window, but you're not fixing the problem cause you're not hearing from the people that live inside that house," Willis describes.

He says the difference with this forum is that it doesn't end here. "With the crisis we're facing regarding the gun violence and shooting in our city, its very important for us to analyze the root cause," said Willis.

Organizers are planning more meetings to follow through on what they heard on Thursday night.