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Friday, Oct. 21, 2022

Last week, two teenage boys were shot in a parking lot near the Downtown Mall. After an investigation, police arrested three more teenagers and charged them with the shooting. The youngest is 14, the oldest 17.

This is the latest of a series of shootings and other violence in Charlottesville. The Daily Progress this week published a story detailing this recent rise in shootings and the police department’s response. Read that story here. That article was followed days later by a release from the city’s commonwealth’s attorney, pleading for the community’s help.

“The criminal justice system is designed to be reactive, not proactive,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania wrote. “It will take broad community partnerships to turn the tide and stem the violence. This request for community assistance is admittedly not the norm, but neither are the times in which we are living.”

So, how can the community help? 

In My Humble Opinion: Radio show hosts conversation about gun violence and the work it takes to support children

That was exactly what Charlottesville Inclusive Media partner In My Humble Opinion radio show talked about late last month. The IMHO hosts brought together community leaders to speak frankly about what they see as causing the problem and how to set upon the long and difficult path to break the cycle.

If you have the time, it’s worth listening to the whole thing (you can find it here).

This is not the first time Charlottesville has had this conversation. Like most places, shootings here tend to cluster. Long periods pass with relatively little violence followed by a stretch of multiple shootings in rapid succession.

During the last spike in gun violence, at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, former Police Chief RaShall Brackney made a similar plea for help from the community. The response she received was immediate. Two local groups formed independently with the goal of slowing the violence.

Credit: Credit: Eze Amos/Charlottesville Tomorrow

As shootings skyrocket, local Black men insert themselves as mediators to stop conflicts from turning fatal

Credit: Mike Kropf/Charlottesville Tomorrow

Friends launch hotline to give Black community members access to mediators during altercations

Both of these groups, along with a handful of others that work with at-risk children and teens, are operating right now in Charlottesville. If you’d like to donate either time or money, links to their organizations’ websites can be found in the stories.

Thank you for reading today,

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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Jessie Higgins

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.