CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – It takes a village. That’s the theme of one community event held Monday night to try and help end gun violence.
“They say it takes a village, I was raised by that village. So, I know I have to give back to that same community that raised me,” Lamont Holden, a clinical assistant professor in the University of Illinois School of Music, said.
“We’re in a really interesting and challenging moment now, and we’re seeing some of the expression of that in gang violence, and not just gun violence, and certainly not just gang violence,” Samuel Smith, director of civic engagement and social practice at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, said.
These events are being put on by Illinois P)ublic Media and the Champaign Community Coalition. They want to create a space to bring leaders in the community, leaders with the university, organizations and individuals all together to start and continue a conversation, all about what can be done to reduce violence in Champaign-Urbana.
“It’s really very important that we continue to practice coming together, having conversations, having difficult conversations, creating spaces to have conversations,” Smith said.
For many of the people a part of these conversations, they identify problems and they know there are solutions out there, but they know it takes more than just a few voices to spark change.
That’s why they said events like this one are so important for the future of the community.
“There’s real solutions in the community, and we have awesome programs to give our students and our youth something productive to do in our community, and it’s not a lost cause. We have to solve our own issues,” Holden said.
They plan to have more of these discussions in the future, and you can still watch Monday’s discussion on Facebook.