Northside Love: Group calls for end to violence

Community leaders say it's about consistency, accepting responsibility

By Kumasi Aaron - Reporter/The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two teenage boys shot on the Northside in as many days: One of them is dead, the other clinging to life.

A community group is now using their event designed to bring the community and businesses together as a chance to demand an end to violence in the area and across Jacksonville.

It's a call to action from the leaders of Northside Love.

On Thursday, 16-year-old Johnathan Thomas was found shot to death at the end of a driveway on Detaille Road.

On Friday 14-year-old James Thomas was shot while taking a swimming break at the Johnnie Walker Community Center pool.

"Step it up. These children really need us more than ever. We're not doing enough for them. A lot of times as adults we get caught up in just living," said LeAndrew Mills, of Northside Love.

Mills called for community organizations to do more, saying press conferences, vigils and meetings aren't enough. Community leaders said it's about consistency and accepting responsibility.

"Come out and be a part of the change, to be a part of the solution and stop complaining about the problems, and in order to really make change you have to be the change you want to see," said Pervalia Gaines-McIntosh, of the Community Center.

Northside Love is dedicated to bringing the community and businesses together, and many people News4Jax spoke with said its those businesses that can really step up when it comes to combating violence in the area.

"We seem to think that they are going to arbitrarily become productive tax-paying citizens without being taught how to become that," said Jywi Ysryl.

Ysryl leads Jacksonville Youth Works and is president of the Jacksonville Black Chamber of Commerce. He said helping young people find economic success as an alternative to violence will take an investment.

"In order for us to work we're going to have to teach them how to come to work, how to perform on the job, communication skills and everything that it takes for them to be successful," said Ysryl.

It's a change he and others admit won't happen overnight and won't happen at all without a change in attitude and involvement.

"All of the youth here in Jacksonville need us again more now than ever for us as adults to show them the love that they're so desperately seeking," said Mills.

The group hopes love will translate to less violence and fewer lives lost.

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