ICARE, Jacksonville officials discuss changes needed

Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment calls for change

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment (ICARE), along with some of Jacksonville's prominent public officials joined to take action against youth crime, literacy, homelessness and jobs in Duval County.

"When we get 3,000 people to tell the Mayor and other officials the things that the citizens want for this community, we think it will have a definite impact," said ICARE board member, James Proctor.

Proctor was joined by Mayor Alvin Brown, Sheriff John Rutherford, Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti, School Board members and members of the Jacksonville City Council Monday night.

"As mayor, I made focusing on jobs a top priority and we're going to be working with all the stakeholders and not-for-profits and the faith-based community to help us do that," said Brown

More than 3,000 people packed the Potter's House on Normandy Boulevard Monday night. ICARE board members told the crowd that too many children in Duval County are entering the "school to prison pipeline." The group challenged Sheriff John Rutherford to change the way we treat first-time non-violent offenders.

"Will you make it mandatory for your officers to issue civil citations to all qualified first-time misdemeanors that you signed last year?" the board members asked Sheriff Rutherford Monday night.

"Yes," Rutherford responded.

"Will you ensure that all these schools has the resources, staff and training programs to implement restorative justice?" the board members asked Dr. Vitti.

"Yes," Vitti responded.

Mayor Alvin Brown said he was encouraged by Monday night's turnout and by the depth of the questions that were asked. The Mayor told Channel 4 he remains positive and committed to moving Jacksonville in a better direction.