Rev. Mark Broach led his remarks with a roll call.
After each name was called, there was silence during his public comments at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“I hope and pray that you recognize the lack of attendance,” said Broach, a senior pastor at Trenton Deliverance Center Church. “Their chronic lack of attendance began somewhere around January 1.”
The lack of response was no coincidence. Broach had called out each murder victim’s name so far this year — a list that is growing rapidly.
“The fierce violence that has taken their lives is a direct relationship to refusal to invest in our schools, our local infrastructure and our basic resources,” he continued.
“We need to change our culture.”
Broach also came to the meeting with suggestions for council members to help. They included holding record meetings between constituents and government officials, collaborating to assist with grant acquisitions for the youth, increasing rewards for cold cases, and helping find jobs for city youth, just to name a few.
Approximately 50 residents attended the meeting with Broach wearing black T-shirts and holding up poster boards with pictures of the murder victims.
City activist Lee Ingram said he received a phone call about Wednesday’s afternoon murder.
“One of my co-workers called me and said his daughter was running, ducking bullets,” Ingram said, while holding up a picture of the dead man lying on the city street on his cellphone. “She had to grab her child and run into the house while they were killing this man in front of their home.”
The violence and criminal activity has become far too common for city residents.
“I was in my car when a group of kids opened my door and took my purse,” resident Wendy Gonzalez recounted at the meeting. “My 8-year-old, he’s not allowed to come outside.”
Councilman Alex Bethea said he would like to hear from his peers about what they can do to help.
“I would like to know from this council what is it that we can do to try to address these matters so we can put the word out to the residents that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and we will not tolerate it and we will do whatever necessary to make sure that we curtail this type of activity in our city,” he said.What salvation is there for this population, save mandatory Depo-Provera?