CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s been a violent few days in Champaign. With three shootings happening over the weekend throughout the city, and one man shot and killed on Monday.
“There’s been a great uptick coming out of COVID 2020. It’s just starting to exacerbate itself. The seed had been planted a while back,” Marlon Mitchell, founder and executive director for FirstFollowers, said.
FirstFollowers is one of many programs in Champaign-Urbana working to bring an end to gun violence.
“I’m a firm believer that you know if it’s not done by us, and when I say us, I mean the community, then who? If it’s not going to be something that’s going to be holistic, then what? And if it’s not going to be done now, then when?” he said
That’s why the FirstFollowers have come up with the H3 model. It stands for harm, healing and hope.
“Recognize that there’s been harm, and there’s a need for healing, so we can provide hope to move forward,” Mitchell said.
It’s a model he’s taking to the Champaign City Council. He said too many times, organizations like his, work in their own bubbles. Leaving them overworked and underfunded. He said if they work together, they can do more.
“The H3 model brings together an alliance, a coalition of like-minded social service agencies who have that goal of addressing community violence,” he said.
But he said everyone has to realize it’s going to be hard work, and it won’t happen quickly.
“I don’t think it’s too late, but I do know there’s no quick fix, because there’s a lot of people that’s hurting,” he said. “We didn’t get into this situation overnight, and we have to fully understand that, and we have to fully accept that.”
The City of Champaign has its own proposed Community Gun Violence Reduction Blueprint it’s working through.
Mitchell will present the H3 model to the council Tuesday night. He encourages everyone to come out or listen online and be apart of the change. That meeting starts at 7 in the city council chambers.