Community activist call to "stop the violence" -

Community activists call to "stop the violence"

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It was a night of sharing progressive ideas and calls for community action as the Stop the Violence Coalition of Atlantic County presented its yearly report.

Representatives from Atlantic City and Pleasantville were in attendance as keynote speaker Dr. Jon Regis called for the community to stand up and speak out against the violence they may witness.

"We need more people, more community stakeholders involved with this endeavor. The more we get involved, the sooner we'll be able to get a handle on this thing," said Dr. Regis.

Dr. Regis says violence is a public health issue and that there is a relationship between unemployment and violence.

For residents in attendance, they echoed the need for community involvement and hope this night of community activism is enough to begin a decrease in violent crime.

"It takes everybody together in order to stop it. You can get to a certain point in life and feel like you made it. Its all about responsibility," said Atlantic City community activist Thelma Witherspoon

"This is a social disease and the cure for it is knowledge. You must have knowledge of self to cure the disease," said Michael Scott Jr. an Atlantic City community activist.

The Stop the Violence Report happened to fall on the day President Obama took a step towards stricter gun control in the country, a measure those in attendance see as a step in the right direction especially in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings.

"They're recognizing that we just can't tolerate this anymore. We can't have somebody go into a school and shoot 26 people, 20 of them children. We have to do something," said Dr. Regis.

"You wanted to do something, but you just didn't know what to so the timing is perfect not just for a national point of view but a local point of view," said Witherspoon.

After an almost record year for homicides in the county, residents believe further work to involving the community and it's leaders will provide the youth with the positive leadership they need.

"These leaders are doing a great job but they need to interact a lot more with these youth so these youth can see that people really care, they are true leaders and we have them and we can go to them for help," said Scott.

Mayor Langford of Atlantic City was in attendance along with the police chiefs of both Atlantic City and Pleasantville. Mayor Tweedle of Pleasantville is currently in Washington D.C. with a coalition of Mayors seeking stricter gun-control laws.

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