Van Turner, president of the local NAACP branch and a father of two, said he talked with his boys about the shooting. Turner plans to host a forum next week to discuss strategies to curb gun violence.
“I’m sort of torn, because people say we always do these things and nothing happens,” Turner said. “But then, if we don’t do anything, what happens? Nothing. But that doesn’t mean we stop. If we don’t do anything, we will have given up.”
The Rev. Jason Lawrence Turner, senior pastor of the historic Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, has been working on addressing gun crime and mentoring young people in Memphis. He said it’s time for a “course correction.”
“It’s going to take a collaboration of government agencies, certainly churches, and the citizenry, to do our part to divert these instances of violence,” the pastor said. “And, as well, to instill a greater responsibility in the community so that, when there are instances like this, it’s not the responsibility for those in the community to take justice into their own hands.”
His church, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has established mentoring programs for girls and boys in middle school and high school. The church also has adopted three schools to provide an avenue for children to talk about their problems and deal with bullying and other threats.
“It’s not all on law enforcement,” Turner said. “Law enforcement shows up after a crime has been committed. We have a responsibility to keep these crimes from being committed.”
Like Jones — the record label associate — and other longtime friends, Sheena Crawford called Young Dolph by his childhood nickname, Mane Mane.
She fondly remembers playing with him and his sisters in the neighborhood where their grandparents lived, near St. James church. He liked to play basketball and he was a relatively quiet child, Crawford said.
As she grieves, Crawford also remains frustrated at the lack of progress in the fight against gun violence.
“My anxiety is just up through the roof,” she said. “When I leave out my door, I’m scared something is going to happen to me, or something is going to happen to my kids. It doesn’t make any sense.”
This article originally appeared here.