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Commission working to combat gang and gun violence in Chatham Co.

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 5:07 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Gun violence prevention continues to take center stage in Chatham County.

An effort spearheaded by Georgia Representative Carl Gilliard has been underway for a month now.

The Chatham County Legislative Gang Prevention and Intervention Commission met for the second time Monday.

During Monday’s meeting, Georgia Representative Carl Gilliard, who also chairs this commission, shared some powerful words with the group. He said “I’m tired of going to funerals.”

“I see so many t-shirts walking around with their loved ones. We should be sick and tired of being sick and tired,” said Rep. Gilliard.

Frustration and pain - feelings shared by many members of the Gang Prevention and Intervention Commission.

“Nobody likes to see kids die, but kids are dying. I think these programs will bear fruit,” said Kit Cummings with the Power of Peace Project.

The group bounced ideas and possible programs off one another.

Some of them close to being implemented.

The Chatham County District Attorney’s office, in partnership with Feed the Hungry, just received a grant to pilot the “Show Your Guns” program, which focuses on 16 to 25 year old’s facing criminal charges for a firearm possession offense.

“Those persons, if they follow the program, they will not be convicted or have that on their record,” said Rep. Gilliard.

It’s partnerships between law enforcement agencies and grassroot organizations that, Keith Strickland says, will help curb gang and gun violence.

He knows because he was a convicted felon.

“You have the people that have the authority to give a second chance, and you have the people who have the ear to say ‘You should take this second chance,’” said Keith Strickland, Making the Transition founder.

Representative Gilliard says in just a month, he’s happy with the progress that’s been made through the commission.

“We’ve got to get a community that’s in action. Our young people are counting on us.”

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