Town hall aimed at stopping violence

Town Hall for healing in South Dallas

DALLAS – Some community members hope a Town Hall Meeting for Healing will help address and curb some of the crime concerns they have in South Dallas.

Urban Specialists and other community members are taking it upon themselves to engage teens and young adults about violence, crime, and the neighbors impacted by it, after a chaotic shooting at Wheatley Park on March 19. 

Emotions are still raw, two weeks after dozens of shots were fired into a large crowd gathered in Wheatley Park. The shooting is being talked about in the community and online.

Pastor Omar Jahwar of Urban Specialists said, ”100 rounds were shot at a public park with young people all around. Older people, teenagers, kids.”

Jahwar is among community organizers who have been bringing attention to the violent shooting.

Urban Specialists has been putting boots on the ground, talking to young people who were the alleged targets, suspected initiators, and other traumatized teens.

Jahwar explained, “We’ve been trying to create a dialog that says number one, this is not normal, and number two this is not acceptable.”

Outrage, now has Urban Specialists holding a Town Hall for Healing. It is focused on children’s needs and neighbors tackling crime in the community.

The Town Hall for Healing will be held at 6 p.m. in the Urban Specialists office at 1401 S. Lamar Street in Dallas.

“I think that in our community, violence, and this kind of behavior has become so normalized, that nobody says nothing about it,” said Antong Lucky of Urban Specialists. “It is super important to address these issues, if we are to get a grip on our young people.”

Some neighbors believe the meeting is a chance to nip some behaviors in the bud.

Two teens were hurt during the shooting chaos. One teen was shot in the leg. A 16-year-old girl was shot in the face.

Lucky explained, “She’s dealing with neurological damage. She’s dealing with trying to learn how to talk, trying to walk -- the whole 9 yards.”

The meeting comes at a time when former police chiefs are warning Dallas elected officials they believe crime is only going to get worse across the city.

It's also a concern for Dallas Independent School District Trustee Bernadette Nutall. She represents the district where the shooting happened.

“Crime is up,” Nutall said. “Our crime is up, and the first thing for people is to feel safe, and our safety is in jeopardy right now. I feel that the City of Dallas, the City Council members, and the Mayor need to look at how they give leadership to ensure that our residence are safe… not just in North Dallas, but safe in the southern sector as well.”

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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