CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “That’s really our best chance at really combatting gun violence so we just really encourage everybody to be apart of the solution,” Mary Catherine Roberson, City of Champaign Community Relations, said.
That means bringing together the city, churches and community members. Groups decided to work together tonight on solutions for peace. This after several shootings over the years at an American Legion ended with people hurt and two deaths. Three shootings have happened since 2018 at Post 559 on Hickory Street in Champaign.
Earlier this month, one person was killed and four others hurt after a shooting in the Legion’s parking lot. A family was holding a funeral luncheon. In August of 2018, a 48-year-old man was shot and killed outside the entrance. In November of that same year, a woman was shot in her car after leaving the Legion. She did survive. Now, city officials are looking for ways to bring safety to the area.
“We will not be scared away from gun violence. We will not normalize gun violence,” Roberson said.
After a shooting earlier this month killed one person and hurt four at the American Legion Post 559, the city of Champaign teamed up with the Legion to focus on safety in the neighborhood.
“We won’t be run off by these instances. So as a community and as the city we are determined to keep showing up and keep rally and keep mobilizing people as often as they’ll show up and as often as they’ll have us so I encourage that same sentiment in the community,” Roberson said.
They hosted a forum which included resources that spoke about ways to help kids deal with gun violence, ways to deal with your own trauma from gun violence, and they also talked about mental health resources available. Other resources included ways to help people who are involved in gun violence escape that lifestyle. As well as Crime Stoppers, who encourage people to call in tips anonymously.
“Really trying to push out information, resources, but at the same time let the community know, that if they have information or if they would like to start being apart of the process of the movement to end gun violence in their community that there are lots of avenues for them to join,” Roberson said.
The American Legion is also increasing safety measures. They will be using their cameras and also working with police to patrol the area consistently, but they hope this forum will help spark ways to stop the violence.
“I just feel for the families. I just really feel for the families that they had to go through this and we hope and pray that something come out of this meeting that could make sure that this don’t happen again,” George Love, Vice Commander of American Legion Post 559, said.
If you want more information about groups involved in the forum. Hit the links below.
CU Trauma and Resiliance:
CU Fresh Start:
Champaign County Crime Stoppers:
Community Violence Response Team: