Less talk, more action challenged during town hall
I vote. I pay taxes. Therefore, I have skin in this game- Rev. Adrian Brooks
"The people who are shooting at each other are not in this room."
The comment, from the Reverend Adrian Brooks of Evansville, hit home Monday evening as one of the biggest challenges to curbing gun violence in the city.
While the people being talked about may not have been there, a large audience was at the Boys and Girls Club, for the first of what was termed Mayor's Community Conversations, an attempt by Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke to talk about gun violence in a town hall format.
Area resident Ron Lyles made reference to the recent incidents in Ferguson, Missouri in saying that sensitivity training is the key to avoiding those types of confrontations. " I hate to say it, but your rookie officers, are not like veteran officers. When they come into a situation, they will quickly pull their pistols. Rookie police officers, who have lived in white neighborhoods all their lives, have no relationship with black folks until they come in. And they fear, they have fear themselves. That's why I think that sensitivity programs are so important that they should be ongoing."
Mayor Winnecke noted that for the first time, all city employees are now required to take a sensitivity training course.
Later, Rev. Adrian Brooks challenged Mayor Winnecke to implement a strategic plan put forth by residents of the 4th ward.
Brooks said that local officials should be making it easier for people who are willing to do the hard work of changing the status quo. "Some of us live in the center city, not because we have bad credit, but because that's where we choose to live. So, I vote. I pay taxes. Therefore, I have skin in this game. We're asking that a greater portion of the taxes we send, would come to an area that has long been neglected."
The next Community Conversation is Oct. 29th at Fairlawn Elementary School. There are six meetings scheduled in the series...one in each Evansville ward.
WNIN-FM will address the issue of gun violence in an upcoming edition of The Trend.
Paola Marizan and Brianna Williams contributed to this story.