MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Community leaders are coming together in the aftermath of the death of a little boy, and hoping that people can work together for change.

V.J. Smith is with the anti-violence group MAD DADS. He said everyone can do something.

“If you can’t hit the streets, you can hit the bank, you can make a donation to the family, you can pray, or make a donation to ‘MAD DADS’ so we can do the work,” Smith said.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports

Smith said 60 men gathered Saturday after the vigil for Nizzel George, and talked about short term and long term solutions to the problems of violence and poverty on the North Side.

“Getting out there right now and connecting with these kids and finding out what they need right now and give them those resources,” he said.

He said residents are going to try to start community crime watches and try to persuade young people to give up their guns.

“But that’s not going to be easy, because the reason they have guns, is because they stopped fighting a long time ago. That’s something we used to do. Have a fight, then become friends again and call it a day,” he said.

Smith said the men in the homes are absent right now, and that has to stop.

“Getting into those boy’s faces, and saying when a boy is a boy he needs to stay in a boy’s place,” Smith said.

It will take extreme measures. Smith said you have to go to the baby’s mother and grandmother and teach them the skills they need to be good parents.

“We have to teach them how to be sustainable, and beneficial and positive in this community,” he said.

There is a lot of work to be done, there is a lot of hurt and a lot of pain, but Smith said it can be done.


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