Local organizations host community dialogue with teens, city leaders

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by Alex Schuman

WHAS11.com

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 12:38 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 12:39 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – On the Tuesday following the mob-like activity that spurred pockets of violence, not many people were at Waterfront Park but you could notice the increase of police patrols promised by city officials.

Besides increasing security, city officials are creating dialogue throughout the community with adults and kids.

"They're becoming very frustrated with the way things are going," Neal Robertson, the President of the West Louisville Urban Coalition said.

Robertson was one of several community organizers who met with teens at the Boys and Girls Club Tuesday afternoon.  Media was not allowed inside, but Robertson describes a situation where the kids feel the town does not care about their parts of the city.

"They saw over 200 kids go past 9th street and break the law.  But, keep in the mind when they were breaking the law west of 9th Street -- there wasn't this much media coverage, wasn't a lot of news conferences, press conferences," he said.

Robertson said this is not about race.

"It was six people that was injured -- four white and two black.  So they even beat up on their own people robbing one girl of her cell phone," Robertson added.

 The teens want better opportunities to get jobs and improve themselves.

"Where they're living at -- where they're being educated at.  The opportunities they have here in Louisville, Kentucky.  It's not that many," he said.

The kids want more help rather than more police.

"They see, they're young, but they're not dumb and young.  They see, they don't have the same opportunities as other kids who live in other places," Robertson said.

More meetings are scheduled for this Thursday afternoon.  Counselors plan to be available to talk about the violence.  Boys go to the Yearlings Club on West Broadway, and girls are asked to go the Louisville Urban League.  Both of those meetings are set for 4:30 p.m.
 

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