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Community members organize an event titled ‘Do Black Lives Really Matter’ Part Two; addressing this year’s spike in violence

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 11:13 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Residents in Alexandria came together for part two of a community meeting called “Do Black Lives Really Matter.”

The community meeting comes after 15 homicides took place in the first four months of 2021. A significant spike compared to the 24 homicides that happened in 2020 (for the entire year). According to Monica Doss, the chief felony prosecutor for the Rapides Parish Sheriff Office, juveniles ages 17 and younger are responsible for the majority of the 2021 homicides.

“We want these children to have some opportunity to do better,” Doss said. “But When you take a life, there’s a consequence for that. I can’t turn my eye when you take somebody’s life.”

The panelists at Monday’s meeting consisted of prosecutors, public defenders, judges, and other activists. Many of the panelists said drugs are part of the problem.

“The last two cases the chief assigned me were murders,” Kelvin Sanders, a prosecutor for Rapides Parish, said. “They were murders behind $50 marijuana deals.”

Other panelists challenged parents.

“I can not tell you how many young men I come across, and I ask them where’s their father,” Malcolm Larvadain, a public defender said. “They say they don’t know.”

The solutions from the meeting centered around activities for the youth and mentorship. James Hammond, a speaker at the event, said he would like to mentor young people. Hammond wants them to avoid making the same mistakes he did, which cost him 25 years in prison.

SPEAKERS ALSO SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO KNOW THEY ARE LOVED, AND EACH PERSON’S LIFE MATTERS.

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