LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Following a weekend of violence, The Village 337 is trying to brainstorm ways to get the community under control.
On Monday night the local activism organization held a public town hall meeting for the community to discuss crime prevention. Topics at the meeting included policing in the community, gun laws, mental health, rising crime, poverty rates and other social issues.
Police said early Sunday morning at the corner of University Ave. and W. Congress Street, one person died after five people were injured in a shooting waiting at the red light. Also over the weekend, Raylon Mason, 22, was killed on E. Simcoe Street after a physical altercation on Saturday morning.
Pamela Thibeaux, a member of The Village 337, said involvement in the community and going out into the community and talking with families to find solution is a suggestion.
“Workshops would even work to get the kids involved in some type of dancing sport,” she said. “I really think that parents need to have more of an open relationship with their kids, to be able to sit down and talk, because you have some kids afraid to speak with their parents.”
One man in attendance mentioned the large role social media plays in the youth’s self-esteem and the support they get. He says many youth are being misguided by what is on the internet.
“Yeah, it’s a powerful thing to keep us informed, but for the youth, it’s hurting,” he said. “It’s tearing them down. They get on Instagram and Facebook, seeing this one and that one with guns. They see this one and that one-half dressed, and they think it is okay, but it’s really not.”
John Wayne Milton, who is an advocate, pastor and attorney, highlighted the anger within the community.
“Unless we get to the root of the problem, we will never eradicate the disease,” Milton said. “So have we have in our community is a cycle of hatred, a cycle of violence, sometimes known as self-hatred.”
Angela Kately Eaglin, the Vice President of The Village 337 said the first step to addressing issues in the community is for parents to address the children in their homes.
“We also need to know what our kids have in our house. We need to know what they’re bringing in and out. We need to know who their friends are and where they live at and who their parents are,” Eaglin said.
Eaglin also believes mental health should not be overlooked in the community due to kids trauma or disappointing experiences.
“Have a conversation with them. Mental health shouldn’t be taboo anymore in 2023,” she said.
The organization held this meeting in preparation for City/ Parish Council meeting taking place May 2.