Conference focuses on state of young black men

March 20, 2008 3:28:15 PM PDT
Eve Carson's murder and the arrest of two young black men is shinning a spotlight on gang violence and while some are calling for tougher laws, others say new rules won't help.

Thursday afternoon North Carolina Central University held a conference focusing on the state of the young black male.

"We absolutely positively need to have anti-gang legislation passed by the general assembly," Judge Craig Brown said as he presided over the first appearance for Lawrence Lovette.

Lovette is one of two black men accused in the brutal slaying of UNC student Eve Carson.

Some hope new rules will prevent similar murders in the future, but there's a different approach.

Thursday's forum, sponsored by NCCU, offers a different take on gang violence.

"The reality is they have probably committed a crime and it is too often that we see this in our community and we have to begin as a community to come together with answers to resolve this," NCCU Law Professor Raymond Pierce said.

But with gang violence on the rise across the state, some argue the community has dropped the ball. So a call is going out to families to keep young African-Americans in school and out of gangs.

"What nation of people in the history of our world have not been able to regulate themselves?" Pierce asked. "If we don't regulate ourselves, somebody else will. Whether its the police or the judicial system or whatever. And that's not what you want."

Carson's murder has drawn national attention and with the two suspects under investigation for gang affiliation, the conference aims to get another message out. That while there are problems, James Atwater and Lawrence Lovette are the exception.

"This does not represent the majority of our young black men," Pierce said. "It doesn't represent the majority of our people."

A recent study found there are more than 1,000 active gang members in the Bull City.


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