DAYTON — The vast majority of homicides in Dayton the past six years involve black male suspects and victims, prompting the local NAACP chapter to solicit ideas on how to cut the homicide rate at least in half.
City of Dayton statistics show there have been 177 homicides from 2010-2015 with another two so far in 2016. Of those, 146 (82 percent) of the victims were African-Americans. Of those, 123 (84 percent) were black males. Of the 79 arrests in those homicides, 64 (81 percent) were black males.
In 2015, Dayton had 28 homicides and 25 (89 percent) of the victims were black. The new year already has seen suspected drug-related homicides in Dayton and Trotwood, including 1-year-old Elijah Johnson, who died after being hit in a shootout.
The Dayton Unit NAACP will host a town hall meeting called, “Consequences of Life’s Choices” at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy located at 1923 W. Third St. to ask for help in finding a way to reduce the violence.
“African-American males are dying at incredible rates for really no good reason at the hands of another African-American,” said Derrick Foward, Dayton Unit NAACP president, who will moderate the discussion. “As a collective body of people, we need to stand up and either mentor these young men who are committing these acts or violence or speak to their conscience.”
The panelists are Richard Bruton Jr. from Tabernacle Baptist Church, Joseph McCutcheon from Omega Baptist Church, Rolen Jackson of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, and Bishop Mark C. McGuire Sr. and Herman Sutton, both of The Potter’s House-Dayton International Ministries.
Foward said all of the panelists have turned their lives around and should be able to speak to those contemplating a criminal life on the streets. Statistics show that 187 black males in Dayton since 2010 have been removed from their families forever or for long periods of time.
“We are concerned about African-American males not growing up in their children’s lives, either the reason being by death or the reason being by incarceration,” Foward said. “Either way, it’s unacceptable.”
Foward said the town hall is just one step in a plan to get into Dayton Public Schools to tell at-risk youth about the consequences of violence mostly related to drug activity. The group’s goal is to reduce Dayton’s homicide rate by 50 percent and to set the example about black lives mattering.
“We want to do our part with reducing the homicide rate inside of our community,” Foward said. “I believe that we really can do it because we know, as a collective body of people, who is committing these murders.”
Foward said he knows most people wouldn’t turn a family member in, but that at least they could point them in another direction in life. He said there are too many funerals and makeshift memorials that don’t solve anything.
“Life is more than a group of teddy bears hanging on a pole somewhere,” said Foward, who added that hopefully the NAACP’s message spreads through media and social media. “There was 28 funerals last year. For what?”
“Was that life worth a nickel-bag? Was that life worth a dime-bag? Was that life worth my girlfriend? … Whatever these young men are doing, their life is not worth those measly little dollars that they’re getting,” he said.
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