(Full interviews posted at the end of this story)
Is there a way to end gun violence in Fort Dodge?
A newly formed group called Next Gen hopes to come together and find solutions.
Fort Dodge City Councilor and member of the group Quennel McCaleb says the group was founded by Paige Williams, a former educator who lost a former student to gun violence at the beginning of May.
McCaleb has worked within the school system with young people as a coach and mentor
He said that some ways to prevent gun violence in a community can start in the school.
“Teaching them things that they might not be taught at home,” McCaleb said. “The ramifications of pulling the trigger.”
In order to come up with answers and ways that people can help, Next Gen is inviting everyone to a brainstorming meeting Wednesday night beginning at 6pm at Rides Bar and Grill in Fort Dodge.
Another event, this one in honor of the Juneteenth holiday, will share its focus on ending the violence.
Sherry Washington of the Pleasant Valley Awareness group has praised Next Gen for stepping up and reaching for a solution or at least some answers to the street violence that has plagued Fort Dodge recently. “We’ve always spoke about stopping the violence,” she said. “The violence is at an all time high level and we need to address it.”
Representative Ako Abdul-Samad will be speaking during the event. Washington said he has been in Fort Dodge before, but this time he is coming to speak on the issue that is close to his heart.
“He lost his son to gun violence, his only child to gun violence,” Washington said. “So he has never stopped fighting for ending gun violence.”
The Juneteenth event will begin this Saturday at 11am at H.C. Meriweather Park.