Durham gun violence top of mind for families

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Thursday, March 30, 2023
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DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Community safety was just one of many issues on the table Wednesday night at the 20th Annual Women's Forum at Durham City Hall.

The forum was back for the first time in person since the pandemic.

"I guess I wanted to hear about how people handled the pandemic and shootings because that's been a big deal," said Kennedy German, a 12-year-old.

She came to the event with her mom Crystal.

"For me crime is a symptom, it's not the actual problem," Crystal said. "How do we address the actual problem so we don't have a situation where we have young people who feel like the only option is to cause harm to someone else?"

The Human Relations division of Durham's Neighborhood Improvement Services Department put the event on in honor of National Women's History Month.

The forum celebrated those who "Who Tell Our Story" and aims to celebrate women's accomplishments and recognize their valuable contributions to the community.

One of the panelists was Bessie Elmore, executive director of Straight Talk Support Group, which helps those trying to aide loved ones during incarceration.

"Unless you've been involved in the system in any way you have no idea what goes on for a mother or husband to have their child incarcerated," she said.

Constance Stancil leads the neighborhood improvement decision.

"Today one of the worries that parents have is not only about the cost of daycare but will their children come home alive and that is something that bothers me not just for my children's children."

Teenagers were wounded and some were killed just last week in the Bull City.

Two high school students died, shot by an 18-year-old.

"It's very troubling," said Clarence Birkhead, sheriff of Durham County. "Those people dying at the hands of guns might be bad actors but they had access to weapons and we are seeing that far too often."

Sheriff Birkhead said they are confiscating weapons of all kinds from students every day and that nothing should be taken off the table.

That includes metal detectors as well as increasing the number of resources officers and mental health counselors.