Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory met privately with nearly 30 black leaders in the community, according to attendees.
Pastors, non-profits, and civil rights leaders in the parish were in attendance during this closed door session.
“We met for a few hours and we laid down short term, mid-range and long-term goals," said Philadelphia Christian Church Pastor Omar Thibeaux.
Some who attended say they feel optimistic about the new approach to cracking down on gun violence in the community.
“On an individual basis we could have ideas but to have those different disciplines. Those different gifts to come together and put it all together was remarkable,” Thibeaux said.
According to LCG, the goal of the meeting was not to increase police presence but to encourage more community involvement.
“The answer was not today to throw more Police out into the community and I think that’s important to note and that really shows that the government knows that’s not the answer. Even the police recognize that that’s not the answer,” President of The Village 337 Devon Norman said.
The recent reports of gun violence like the Moore Park shooting that injured two teen girls on senior skip day motivated the meeting.
According to Chief of Minority Affairs Carlos Harvin, LCG is now promoting the use of recreational centers and says churches are willing to open their doors —adding more resources.
“We want to give options activities, sports activities mentoring and we’re trying to connect concerned fathers, concerned adults with young people who are at risk,” Harvin said.
No specifics were given on how LCG plans to mitigate the issue, however they are encouraging the community to be actively involved in the effort.
“We want to make sure we’re giving opportunities. But to our young people who feel like they have no choice but to pick up a weapon,” He added.
“I felt really good about it, and once again he’s going to lead Lafayette into a new era and direction in tackling the problem and really getting things done in our city,” Thibeaux said.
“I believe that it gave me hope that our community can be what I know that it can be,” Norman said.
LCG will now consider the advice of the parish leadership and will determine what steps should be taken next on the issue, officials say.
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