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Residents concerned by violence in their community hopeful new organizations have impact

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah city leaders continue to search for ways to prevent gun violence by unveiling new initiatives programs.

“I’m right off East 39th Street and Waters Avenue. An area that has seen gun violence. I spoke to residents who are already working toward bettering their community, but they say...there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done,” Conya Nunnally said.

Flashing police lights, caution tape and a familiar sight on Savannah’s east side. But the neighborhood and its residents, this is family for Nunnally.

“If you want to learn to be a better you, we’re going to give you that opportunity because we are improving within ourselves,” Nunnally said.

Nunnally is the founder of the Building Bridges organization off Waters Avenue. Since the organization started eight months ago, she’s been giving opportunities to those in her community.

“Right now, we took young men off the east side in every block, and have given them jobs, permanent jobs,” Nunnally said.

More employment opportunities, education programs, recreational activities, these are a few things residents say lower income communities that are hurting due to violent crimes need.

Dominique Barnes, who has grown up around gun violence, says the youth need mentorship.

“Reach one, teach one. If you see them out here doing something that ain’t correct, grab ‘em by the shirt, sit down and talk to them,” Barnes said.

Chancellor Hudson, who heads Building Bridges’ STEM and entrepreneurship program, oversees 3-5 teens, showing them opportunities beyond the classroom.

“If we can replace that idle time with productivity, where they can see that they can have a skill to get them some money, to return them some money, so they won’t have to think about the possibilities of breaking into somebody’s house, stealing or harming their fellow brother,” Hudson said.

Nunnally says Savannah Alderman Detric Leggett has been instrumental in helping improve the neighborhood.

Many residents saying it gives them hope. Hope for change and hope for a safer community.

“You could say a lot, but when you’re actually doing what you’re saying, that’s when it makes a difference.”

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