WASHINGTON — Two children, ages 3 and 6, were shot at a bus stop in the 800 block of Southern Avenue in Southeast, D.C. on Saturday. Now many are wondering, how did we get here?
“It’s gone beyond ‘oh my God,’ this is insane,'” said Brenda Jones.
Jones founded the Parkland Community Center in Congress Heights three decades ago. For Jones, it was a labor of love.
“No doubt, it was hurting me to see our young people engaged in drugs and when crack came in the 1985…Oh my God…it was horrible," she said.
Jones said history has the answer to how we got here.
“We don’t have crack, we have K2, but we have a lot of damaged people, a lot of damaged families,” she said. “A lot of people were killed and a lot of people were incarcerated a lot of trauma.”
Jones believes this new generation of criminals are the product of that trauma.
The prayer walks, peace rallies, even all the activists on the street are working to address the root problems of violence, but Jones says government must do more.
She said, contrary to what you hear from the police chief and mayor, getting rid of illegal guns on the street does not address the real problem.
“Those guns have been around,” she said. “The real problem is these communities Ward 7, 8, parts of Ward 1 and 5 have been neglected; they (city leaders) really haven’t put the services and programming in these communities to support families.”
Jones said stop thinking of this as a Ward 8 problem.
“It’s a community problem a DMV problem really because people are crossing borders all the time," she said/
Jones believes a public campaign to reinforce the message of life and stopping the violence should be the next step to changing the mentality that leads people to shoot indiscriminately – even toward children.
“Maybe the schools can come up with slogans and they can get on TV and say, ‘we want to live - stop killing us’ mothers and parents say, ‘we need help;’ an all-out request to the world that we want to live,” she said.