Man Up conference on recent violence; solution starts with parents

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by Brooke Hasch

WHAS11.com

Posted on March 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 28 at 7:50 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) --  Stopping the violence that has stunned Kentuckiana starts in the home.

That's the message from leaders in West Louisville. They voiced their opinions Thursday afternoon, in response to Saturday's violent rampages across town.

"We do not condone violence," Me-Shorn Daniels, the co-chair of Man Up, said.

"If you don't know where your children are at 11 o'clock at night, that's certainly where the ball dropped," Katrina Dawson, a concerned mother, said.

Saturday night, surveillance cameras caught several acts of violence surrounding a mob of some 200 teens, who police said were responsible for 17 assaults and robberies that night. Days later, threats of more violence on social media continue to filter into the community after 14-year-old Me'Quale Offutt died of stab wounds he received while on a TARC bus.

"I have to say the problem is not with the youth. The problem is with the leadership," Jerald Muhammad, with Brothers Helping Brothers, said.

"I understand the complexity of what's going on with our young people, but that is no excuse, none, to behave in such a way to victimize other people and carry on violence to other people who do not have anything to do with the things you're going through, so we cannot give that a pass," Daniels said.

But not everyone agreed with the steps Man Up has taken.

"No disrespect to your initiatives gentlemen, but I don't feel like it's quite as effective as it could be," Dominick Yarbrough, a UofL student, said.

And with that, others voiced their opinions of how they believe they're perceived throughout Louisville.

"You don't really care. That's the bottom line," Rashad Mitchell, a UofL student, said.

It's a mindset that Man Up said can only be changed with help from the entire community.

"When we talked to young people about their future, most of them have no plans beyond 30. So, when you're dealing with somebody that doesn't fear death, you're dealing with a totally different mindset," Muhammad said.

This crowd praised the efforts of Louisville's mayor and police chief, who've since added extra security to the targeted areas around town, but residents fear these crimes have placed a stigma on the young black community, when they say the violence is among the few.

They're asking for a day of prayer this Sunday, hoping religious leaders will preach sermons on non-violence.

For more information on Man Up, call 502.592.2396 or email manup@serviceforpeace.org.

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