WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — As the District of Columbia experiences an uptick in homicides, a group of local men are working to bring the violence to a halt.

Salim Adofo oversees the Congress Heights neighborhood as an ANC Commissioner in Southeast, D.C.

He kicked off an initiative, Thursday night, called "#ManUpDC". He invited local men to gather for a meeting at the Petey Greene Community Service Center off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

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The goal of the meeting was to seek out potential mentors for boys in the community and brainstorm ways to provide those youth with life skills to keep them out of harm's way.

"We can't rely on somebody else to do the things that we need to do for self-improvement," Adofo said.

So far, 12 people have been murdered in the District since New Year's Day. Half of those homicides have happened east of the Anacostia River.

Adofo, and the group, say multiple factors help produce crime, including economic, health and food inequities. He said the initiative would like to look at ways to address those problems as well.

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"All of those things lead to physical violence," said Adofo. "When you're not able to get food to eat, you have an urge that you need to have satisfied. So what do people do? Sometimes, people resort to physical violence in order to satisfy that urge."

More than 30 men showed up for the meeting including a local named Harold Goodridge. He said it is important to give back to the community.

"We have to reinvigorate the potential of young men, so they can be future leaders," Goodridge said.