Anti-gang leaders commit to communicating better - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Anti-gang leaders commit to communicating better

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FRAYSER, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A 17-year-old is recovering after he was grazed by a bullet outside of an anti-gun violence meeting at Frayser community center on Tuesday.

The meeting was hosted by 901 BLOC Squad, which stands for Better Lives, Opportunities and Communities, and is a Memphis city initiative to help combat  youth gun violence and gangs.

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The teen was one of several at-risk youths invited to Tuesday's meeting.

There's been a beef in the streets among rival gangs, but after Tuesday evening's shooting, a squabble sparked among those who work to help save people, from gangs and violence. Now, those anti-gang leaders hope to shoot straight moving forward.

"Come together at a table like this and talk about how to be peaceful," said gang interventionist Delvin Lane, who focuses on anti-gun violence, specifically aiming towards at-risk youth.   

"No. 1 thing to show them how to deal with conflict resolution," he added. "Guns are fired because of conflict."

But a shooting during the group's first meeting in Frayser sparked conflict among those dedicated to preventing it. Ten young people were invited to the 901 BLOC focus meeting, but trouble happened after one of the teens stepped outside to use his phone.

"Isolated violent crime out in the community, kid got hit by stray bullet," Lane said.

"Can't say 'oh it was random,' because it's not random. We don't get it everyday," added Joseph Hunter, who heads up a non-profit gang intervention program, which primarily works out of the Frayser Community Center.

901 BLOC invited violence, by bringing young people from another set to Frayser's vice lord territory, Hunter added.  

"Because I would've told them who are these guys your bringing who are they, do you really know enough about them?," he said.

However, Lane says the teenager is not in a gang and not targeted. He stresses the focus group in Frayser is the first of several, but Hunter says no one informed him about the meeting on his stomping grounds.

Bofta: "A lot of gang initiatives in city run by different people. Do you all communicate?"
 
Lane: "To this point we've been trying to build a team of folks. It's new. We haven't been communicating up to this point as well as we should've been."

While the two leaders say they've hashed out their differences, they each plan to communicate better to help reach the common goal.

"Keeping kids first and letting political issues take the back seat because lives are at stake," Lane said.

901 BLOC plans to host a candlelight vigil dedicated to those who've lost loved ones. That is set for Jan. 26. The march starts at 4 p.m. at the Claiborne Temple and wraps up at Booker T. Washington High School.

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