The city of Charlottesville
is trying to get to the bottom of racial issues in the city. Talks kicked off
to gain community input about how to end disparities between black and white
youth in the city.
Tuesday night's forum
generated a lot of discussion about race in Charlottesville. Dozens showed up
to give their input about why these racial disparities exist - and how to put
an end to them.
"It's hurtful, but I'm not
surprised because I know what goes on in our community," said Deirdre Gilmore, who
lives in Charlottesville.
released in 2011 from the University of Virginia showed Charlottesville and
Albemarle County have more work to do when it comes to racial disparity. The study was then presented to City
Council, whose reaction was to create the Task Force on Racial Disparity.
The data paints a picture
of racial disparity in Charlottesville - in the child welfare system but mainly
the juvenile justice system. Statistics show black youths are five and a half
times more likely to be in juvenile detention than their white counterparts,
and that black youths in the city are more likely to also have a sibling in the
judicial system and to only live with their mom.
"We need to come
together, we need to deal with the judicial system, we need to have programs
for our kids, it needs to be a collaborate effort," Gilmore said.
That's what the consensus
was at the first forum held by the task force: community-based solutions.
"We need this, we
need this opportunity as a community to talk about what can be done with this
issue," said Jeree Thomas, with JustChildren, a program that's part of the
Legal Aid Justice Center.
The discussion was focused
on existing problems, especially in the juvenile system but also on why the
system may not be as objective as it should be.
"The whole point of
this task force is to see why we're seeing these disparities between black and
white youth in Charlottesville," Thomas said.
But some say there are
still a few missing pieces.
"I think we really
need to hear from the youth. I think we have to have the youth in the room to
hear from them and to listen to their perspective," said Joy Johnson, who lives
The city commonwealth's
attorney was at the forum. Organizers say they hope to get more police officers
involved at the upcoming forums.
Task Force Holds Forum on Racial Disparities in CvilleMore>>
Friday, July 25 2014 10:37 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:37:34 GMT
Saturday August 03: Alexis Murphy left her home in Shipman, Virginia on Saturday evening, reportedly headed for Lynchburg. She tweeted "Burg Bound" to her twitter followers at 3:04 p.m. Saturday. According toFull Story
A timeline of events in the search for Alexis Murphy.Full Story