SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah Mayor Van Johnson continues to address gun violence in the Hostess City with a new initiative calling on fathers to step up and do their part.
Its the next phase in the mayors campaign he launched last month to curb the city’s gun violence. The initiative is called “Mission Minded Men.” It’s expected to help build relationships with Savannah’s young men.
After a mass shooting in Savannah just one week ago that killed two and injured several others, city leaders are calling on fathers to help guide the city’s youth and get guns out of the wrong hands.
“We are enlisting the help of men to just do what you can do, but don’t act like you have nothing to do,” Johnson said.
Mayor Johnson’s initiative started with Savannah’s mothers that encouraged parents to take 10 steps over the next 100 days in their own homes to combat community crime. He said it’s now time for the men to do their part.
“We’re gathering these mission minded men, this league of extraordinary gentlemen to do our part in taking back our community. We refuse to allow violence to be the narrative of which Savannah is judged,” Johnson said.
The initiative includes Savannah Police, city council members, and several community organizations who work in our community to mentor young men. They say to fix this problem the community must come together.
“It doesn’t affect one particular portion. One type of individual, one race, male or female. It affects all of us and that is why we are standing here united as men and showing the community that we can come together,” League of Brawn President Justin West said.
Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter said over the last few years 70 to 80 percent of violent crime victims and suspects have been African American young men. He said the city needs a holistic approach.
“We have been contacting a lot of these victims and suspects mostly in a reactive mode at the hospital or when we show up with an arrest warrant. What’s been missing is the proactive part,” Minter said.
The men hope this initiative will be a driving force in helping create change.
“If you ever think you want to take someone’s life and you’re so upset with someone about what they’ve done, it’s a great time to call someone. Because you don’t want to destroy your life, their life and many other families.” said Rev. Thurmond Tillman with First African Baptist Church:
The group of men plan on going into communities throughout the city to show the young men they care about them and their future.
Mayor Johnson said he’ll announce a new task force on Tuesday that will also address violent crime in the city.