Josephine Wyatt

“Well, there are several reasons. First of all, there is unemployment. Secondly, institutions have abandoned our young people, like the schools and the churches. There is also internalized racism, which causes people to turn on themselves and turn on others.”

Camille Williamson

“People are feeling the pressure of inequities and lack of resources. From a personal or individual perspective, I think people become violent when they feel isolated, when their needs are not met, and when they are not nurtured. We don’t have enough of that person-to-person [interaction], and institutions do not care about people. They are designed by people, but they are not designed to care. They are functions, they are systems; they are not caring people who can lend a hand or give a shoulder to cry on. I think people resort to violence when they haven’t learned to have trusting relationships with other people. I think it is exacerbated when violence is normalized.”

Tina Kounelas

“I believe we have violence in the community because our family and our community is not involved enough in our children. We do not invest as much as we need to invest in making sure that our children are kept busy with activities and not just running in the street. We need to pay attention and see what they are doing at all times. That is a way to keep them off the streets and away from violence, and not be part of the problem, but part of the solution. We can all work together, no matter what color we are, no matter what we do. We need to get to know each other as a community and make sure that we all work together.”

Eugene Ford

“I believe the tension of stress regarding unemployment, over-crowding, and all the various things which afflicts the black community; it forces people to lash out against themselves first of all, and, others around them.”

Patricia Welch

“I think we have violence because we model for young people that this us a way of life. And I think the best example is by modeling, if we want to eliminate violence in our community, the love, respect and support that we have for one another.”

Ted Pearson

“Our society probably has more violence in its history than any advanced country. [With] our history of slavery and genocide, and the idea that we settle all these disputes ourselves, I think the solution is we have to find ways of giving people meaningful work. There is so much to do in this society in terms of green jobs, in terms of saving the planet from destruction. It is going to take billions/trillions of dollars of investment to do that. What’s missing is that the powers-that-be haven’t figured it out yet. They are going to get the message sooner or later.”