Coalition of Hope discusses community response to violence

Local vigils today were held for Newtown and local victims of violence.
Local vigils today were held for Newtown and local victims of violence.

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – As a local prayer vigil was held on Thursday to reflect on the school shooting in Connecticut and recent violence in Toledo, members of Mayor Bell's Coalition of Hope are hoping the vigil will not be the end of the effort to reduce violence.

Keith Jordan with JLJ Vision Outreach said it's important for those wanting peace to try to work for it.

"Right now the engagement process tends to fall off after major events happen," Jordan said. "We get vigils, we have marches and stances but then the follow-up process is long gone."

Jordan believes the area will benefit from the passage of additional tax money for mental health services in Lucas County.

"All agencies and service providers need to recommend some type of mental treatment or mental health advocacy when they're providing services for juveniles," he said. "There's a lot of depression. There's a lot of teen bullying."

Aji Green, who also takes part in coalition meetings, said economic issues continue to be a pressing need.

"Where are the jobs?" Green asked. "If you have children out there gang-banging, they have a failed family structure that's going on right now. How do you help those families?"

Green also believes those praying for a less violent society should be active toward reaching that goal. As far as school safety, neither support arming teachers and allowing them to take weapons into schools.

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