During the 2018 On The Table Macon event, where community members gather to discuss pressing local issues, Maconites filled out surveys to assess the current issues facing our city. They came to the conclusion that the number one problem in Macon is youth violence.
Local organizations hope to make an effort to curb youth violence.
Director of Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism Debbie Blankenship is assisting students and faculty with a project titled “Peacing Together,” which will address the concerns related to violence in the Macon area through local journalism.
“We are taking a solutions-oriented approach to address the violence in Macon so that we will be able to better understand both the tangible and intangible costs that the ripple effect of violence causes in our community,” Blankenship said.
“Peacing Together” will start up in late September.
Other community organizations are also taking steps to address youth violence.
On Oct.12, the Macon Peace Organization will hold an event titled “Stop-Prevent-Reduce Gun Violence” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Buck Melton Community Center. The event will focus on why it is important to support the youth in Macon and ways the community can help prevent violence in the Macon area.
Organizer and creator of the community organization LJ Malone said he believes that the citizens of Macon desperately need a new approach to handling violence. He got the idea to start this organization while advocating for music artists in the Macon area.
“I really enjoyed the music scene here in Macon and started campaigning for the community to stop the violence and start the music. That is when I realized the power that social media has today in our society, and I started the #MaconPeace campaign, hoping to create a more positive presence on social media for the Macon area,” Malone said.
With his newly-started campaign, Malone started to rally volunteers, including his fiancee, his mother and other Macon Peace Ambassadors who are dedicated to the cause. He said they all believe that a holistic approach is one way they can bring peace to the Macon community.
“I am motivated by God, and I want to bring peace to Macon for both nature and people. Harmony goes beyond color, race or creed. We want to be there for the people who experience injustices in our society,” Malone said.
To combat these injustices, Malone said that he and the rest of the Macon Peace team work together to initiate volunteer events and programs locally. These programs include work-ready events where members help attendees get identification cards, food service events to provide meals for those who need them and temporary stay events with the Crystal Lake Organization where members provide places to stay.
At the same time, they try to maintain a support system for those with mental illness. Macon Peace said they intend on spreading awareness about these issues through their sign campaigns as well as helping individuals combat them by offering events focused on finding inner tranquility by communing with nature.
“If you are interested in becoming a Macon Peace Ambassador or simply want to be a volunteer for the cause, please feel free to contact us through Facebook or give us a call,” Malone said.