LYNCHBURG, Va. – The fight to curb gun violence continues in Lynchburg.
Since the start of the year, there have been four people shot and killed in Lynchburg, three of those victims were children.
On Thursday night, the first meeting for the newly formed, Taking Back Our Streets Community Coalition took place.
Lynchburg Mayor Stephanie Reed came up with the idea for the coalition to focus on crime reduction after the deadly shooting of Lynchburg six-year-old, Kingston Campbell.
“To just try and talk about how we can move forward to use our already existing organizations that help direct our youth off the streets,” said Reed.
The goal of the coalition is to pull together the dozens of already existing organizations that are working towards keeping Lynchburg’s youth off the streets.
Organizations like One Community, One Voice, The Boys and Girls Club, YWCA, Peacemakers, and even Lynchburg’s Police Chief, Ryan Zuidema were a part of the coalition’s first meeting.
“We have a lot of people in the room, already doing the work. We just need to figure out how to do the work together,” said Co-director of the Center for Leadership, Owen Cardwell.
Center for Leadership at the University of Lynchburg will be working to bring these activist groups together through coalition meetings, data collection, and creating an asset map, to show people where these organizations’ resources can be found.
“We’re talking about a collective impact model that will help to collect the data that we are all measuring the same thing. And the Center for Leadership is certainly in the position to do that,” said Cardwell.
Community leaders hope the momentum from Thursday’s first meeting will continue on and produce meaningful change.
The coalition plans to meet once a month.
If interested in joining future meetings, contact the University of Lynchburg’s Center for Leadership.