LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY/WKYT) – A room full of men gathered to talk about ways to cut down on gun violence Saturday morning.
One Lexington director Devine Carama challenged 100 Black men to come out to UK’s campus.
Last month, he issued the same challenge and a large group showed up at the Lyric Theatre.
“Anybody that looks at the homicide statistics in Lexington this year, you will see that they disproportionately affect Black males, especially young Black males,” Carama said. “Though we need everybody to be a part of this fight… I think it’s important to intentionally reach out to Black males in the community.”
He said he’s giving them opportunities to participate in that will help break the cycle of violence.
“What we’re trying to do is every time it happens, have more people come out to a point to where it develops a change,” participant Eric Trigg said.
Attendees heard from representatives from Stop the Bleed, the YMCA Black Achievers Program, Operation Making a Change (OMAC) and Mayor Linda Gorton.
The crowded room in UK’s Cornerstone Building hosted speakers who said stopping the violence can start with something as simple as a smile.
“You’ve got all of these images coming from social media, and music and within a neighborhood and they need to know that Black men can come together for positive things as well,” Carama said.
Speakers said young people need to see what healthy relationships and communities look like. They called on every man in the room to step up as a role model.
“It’s never, you want to grow up and be like your dad,” event volunteer Teelisha Wortham said. “It’s good to have that for those young men who do not have their father…..that you have a positive man or mentor in their life to help guide them through whatever difficulties they have.”
Carama said he wants to continue hosting events like this one.