Tackling the issues of violence and racism in Rochester

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Tuesday was day two of the National Urban League’s “21 Pillars Tour” here in the City of Rochester. It coincided with the organization’s “Interrupt Racism” Summit. News10NBC listened as leaders offered some solutions to our city’s most serious problems.

The Summit gives community leaders a chance to learn from the Urban League on both the local, and national level on how to end the tensions between the community, and police. It also focused on racism, which Urban League leaders say has been the root cause of many societal problems.

“This is the time that we bring our community to do the work. No more talking about it. We are leaving here with action steps for change,” said Urban League of Rochester President/CEO Dr. Seanelle Hawkins.

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She says as part of the “Interrupt Racism” Tour this is what everyone needs to hear to help end both racism, and violence in our community.

“Well we know that we’re seeing more and more guns. Illegal guns on the street. Over 400 guns were collected here, right here in Rochester. So we know that’s a big issue,” said Hawkins.

“How much real power do you have to bring about real, and meaningful change,” said National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial as he delivered the Keynote Speech at the event. He touched several subjects including youth violence.

“Number 1, we got to ban assault weapons,” said Morial. He continued, “It’s easier to get a gun than it is to get a lollipop. That shouldn’t be the case.”

Morial says the trust between the police, and the community they serve needs to be restored, especially along racial lines.

“It requires the police on one hand, and policing agencies, to change the way they police in communities. To move to a model that is focused on community police where they put an emphasis on building relationships with the community,” said Morial.

This year’s theme of the Summit is “Enough is Enough.” Victor Saunders, the Mayor’s Advisor of Violence Prevention Programs, says when it comes to violence, we’ve seen it far too often.

“So, bring all these partners together, and sharing resources, and understanding that we have to come together to be able to address this issue, and there’s no small part too small to be able to assist,” said Saunders.

Although Wednesday is the last day of the Summit, the Urban League of Rochester, and community leaders will meet again in November to work on the upcoming RASE report.