Plea For Togetherness

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By District 9 City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod

Words cannot adequately describe the immeasurable toll that people who commit acts of violence exact on families and our community. As public officials, it is our responsibility to work in partnership with the community to galvanize every possible resource to prevent, intervene, investigate and suppress people’s violence. 

Shootings create trauma for the people directly involved, and for everyone in surrounding neighborhoods and communities. The sounds of gunfire; the possibility that kids or loved ones may be unintended victims; and, the inability to feel safe can cause long-term harm. The risk of, and reality of that harm, calls us to action.

We must invest in and reimagine public health and safety. I am committed to listening, learning, and evolving the entire public safety system and doing what it takes to build trust with the community. I also want to be clear. We all see what others see; too many people are being shot and killed in our community. We all are deeply impacted by the loss of life and the trauma plaguing our community. Until we truly address the root cause of crime and poverty, bodies will continue to be harmed. Immediate action is needed.

Every Black Chattanoogan must have a sense of urgency regarding violence amongst our Black youth. We can no longer ignore the cries and pain. We must engage every generation and demonstrate raw authenticity and passion for changing the created culture. Reach our youth where they are and uplift them to be their best version. We all must consistently engage with communities by intentionally being present even in the off-season. We must take back each block. We must reclaim our morals and values. We can’t imagine a better future for our youth, we’ve got to fight for it.

All Houses of Faith, Benwood, Civitan Club, Footprint, all Greek organizations, Kiwanis, Links, Lyndhurst, Masons, NAACP, non-profit organizations, Order of Eastern Stars, Unity Group, Urban League, 100 Black Men, 100 Black Women, and Rotary–let’s all pull up a chair and converse about solutions to this public health emergency.Questions or concerns, please contact me at dcoonrod@chattanooga.gov.