Dozens discuss recent violence in Providence at community meeting

By: Amanda Pitts

alpitts@abc6.com

@AmandaPittsTV

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Providence residents joined together Tuesday night to discuss ways to change the culture of violence in their neighborhoods.

The meeting, held by the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, was prompted by the spike in gun violence over the weekend.

The violence began with a shooting early Saturday morning when a 19-year-old was shot and killed after leaving his grandmother’s apartment on Prairie Avenue.

The next morning, shots were fired outside of a Pop-Warner football game at Hope High School. Just a few hours later, two men were riding their motorcycles on Elmwood Avenue when one was hit by a bullet.

“This isn’t normal. We can’t get desensitized to this,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza.

Angelo Schell, who attended tonight’s meeting, says his wife’s cousin, Joshua Jackson, was the man shot on Elmwood Avenue Sunday afternoon. Jackson is currently in serious condition.

“We got the call that he was shot, and it just broke my heart.”

Schell says this violence is nothing new to him. He’s grown up with it, losing several family members to senseless tragedies.

“My father was murdered a month before I was born at 19, so it’s been in my lineage, it seems like forever.”

Schell is just one of many residents who gathered for the emotional night, as they engaged in a candid conversation about how to make the streets safer.

Many ideas were bounced back and forth, such as bringing the life lessons of the Institute into schools, working “hands-on” with kids, and getting to know neighbors

“We need to change a culture, and to do that we have to be consistent,” said Executive Director P.J. Fox.

Schell believes meetings like this will make a difference, as long as there’s more done than just talking.

“I think that we’re all gonna go out and make a difference. Not just talk about it, but be about it.”

All of the ideas that came out of Tuesday’s meeting will be a part of a 6-month plan the Institute has, which also includes training for youth, working alongside police officers, even ringing doorbells to get more people to the meetings.

For more information on the organization, click here.

(c) WLNE-TV 2018