“A Call to Action,” Columbus community crime intervention program

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Saturday afternoon, residents of the Columbus community joined together alongside a plethora of non-profit members and civic groups to talk crime. It was the first forum in a month-long series, WRBL was the only media in attendance.

“Violence starts in the home, in the neighborhood.” Dr. J Aleem Hud, CEO of Project Rebound Inc. and Chair of “A Call to Action,” a community violence intervention program, said.

Dr. Hud. says instead of leaning on law enforcement to clean up crime, heads of households and neighborhood leaders need to step up.

“At the end of the day we’re saying, ‘what do you mama, what do you daddy, uncle, aunties, neighbors, friends, concerned citizens, what do you need in order to help the children not go down this path of mayhem and destruction?’,” Dr. Hud shared.

“A Call to Action” held its first town hall Saturday at Revelation Missionary Baptist Church. Residents were given the opportunity to address a panel of local civic leaders with specific needs or concerns with the end goal of producing solutions and a formal letter to be distributed to law enforcement, educations, business leaders, and government officials.

“If you cleanup the neighborhood, I believe that’ll cause less crime,” one resident shared.

“That’s the issue in Columbus, Ga. That’s the issue in a lot of our communities. We have murderers as fathers, murderers as mothers, man slaves, that goes into children as well,” another attendee said.

“We can sit here with all this logic and this and that, but you’re not going to get these parents to come,” Renee Hall, a Columbus resident shared. “They’ve got to make a living in the hood, and we don’t have that answer. We’ve got to get in the hood and stop this division.”

Dr. Hud also says he hopes to see more resources be given back into the community from the local government to increase support within neighborhoods that are dealing with youths committing crimes.

“We’ve felt its time that the citizens get resources. You know, we have all types of resources to lock them up, to incarcerate them, to find them when they’ve done bad. But we want to catch them doing good. We want to create opportunities for them to do good,” Dr. Hud explained. “So, we need to redirect some resources to keep them out of trouble, not just be great at catching them when they’ve done wrong.”

Most who chose to speak expressed appreciation for the new community violence intervention program; others said it is time to stop talking and start doing.

“We have these young folks that are getting felonies, and nobody is saying anything. All the black kids have felonies, now you’re saying change. Change what? They can’t work. Why are we not trying to do something about that? We got to get down deep. They’ve never known a life other than selling drugs, that’s how they have to survive,” Hall said. “But we’re not trying to help them change to an entrepreneur or something of building a business, or something like that. We should be standing at the courthouse every time we have a young man down there getting a felony.”

Panelists countered saying Saturday’s meeting is just the beginning of identifying concerns like Hall’s.

Three more discussions are scheduled for select Saturdays through March. All those locations and dates can be seen below and are scheduled for 12 until 2 p.m.

  • Feb. 10: Greater Peace Baptist Church 2822 8th Street, Columbus, GA 31906

  • Feb. 17: Rose Hill Memorial Baptist Church, 1301 22nd Street, Columbus, GA 31901

  • March 23: Macedonia Christian Ministries, 3645 Cusseta Road, Columbus, GA 31903

The discussions are formatted like a city hall meeting, each resident must sign in to speak and is given two minutes to ask questions or list concerns to panelists.

Anyone interested in supporting “A Call to Action,” email: Dr. J Aleem Hud @projectrebound@knology.net or Rev. Johnnie Flakes @jhflakes3@aol.com.


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