Chattanooga Mothers Against Gang Violence

By Katie Johnston

Caitlin-Johnston@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop)- Heartache laced with passion filled the air on the steps of City Hall on Friday, as women gathered to show their support for the ones who have lost their lives in the daily battles that are fought in Chattanooga’s streets.

With hands clasped tight, they joined in song with an understanding among all peoples present that they were not only singing, but they were soulfully weeping for their own fallen heroes who they say too often get swept under the rug.

In 2010, Chattanooga was ranked 11 out of 20 U.S. cities with a population over 100,000 for the highest crime rate, ranking higher than Detroit and Atlanta.

Demetrus Coonrod stands on the steps of City Hall to show her support for the fight against gang violence in Chattanooga.

Angel Kellogg and Demetrus Coonrod, are both residents of East Dalewood and have been working together for years to help come up with a solution to end the gang violence in our inner city.

“I was put through so I could pull someone else out,” said Kellogg. “Some of these kids will stay in the gang until the day they die.”

Kellogg said the misconception that many people have is that they think the change is going to come once we can reform the schools and the students in the schools. “I’m not worried about the kids getting on the bus, they’re not the problem. The problem is the kids walking down the street, smoking weed and drinking liquor.”

Click here to listen to Angel Kellogg talk about gang violence

Even though Chattanooga has taken steps at trying to deter violence by enforcing curfews for minors, both Coonrod and Kellogg agree that the change has to start at the root of the problem- the parents.

“We are mothers of the earth and we have to teach and mold our children,” said Kellogg. “I just want Chattanooga to be a safe place like it used to be.”

To show your support in the fight against violence and receive information about upcoming events, you can visit their Facebook page at Mothers Against Gang Violence.

 

Sources:

  • Angel Kellogg
  • Demetrus Coonrod

Peer Mentoring Group Converges To Clean Streets

By: Grahm Long

grahm-long@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – The Brainerd High School Peer Mentoring Group met with the Chattanooga City Council on April 5 to present resolutions to safety issues at Coolidge Park.

Heightened attention comes shortly after a flash mob scene at the park three weeks ago, where more than 300 minors engaged in fighting and shooting. The incident eerily parallels what happened a year ago, when five people were shot. Although reports indicate no one sustained life threatening injuries, there is still concern among members of the community, particularly with Brainerd High School students, over potential future occurrences.

Alexis Moore, Brainerd High student and Vice President of the mentoring group, says that the recent increase of violence in the evening calls for a stricter curfew to be enforced at the park. Moore feels that by implementing a stricter code, it will help decrease the incidence of residential gang violence.

“I have personally lost loved ones due to the curfew not being enforced,” says Moore.

Among those with Moore at City Council, were fellow students and group members Dominique Green, Cordell Parachuri, Rodney Cameron, and Jennelle Thom.

Most of the ideas are about enforcing existing city code:

Code 25-2a, which imposes an 11 p.m. curfew for minors under the age of 16.  Code 25-2b, which holds parents accountable when minors under 16 break curfew.  And Code 25-1, which prevents congregating and obstructing traffic on city streets.

The new ordinance sign at Coolidge Park.

 

However, the students also have new ideas that promote safety for the park, such as employing individual security searches upon entry to events, security at all minority-hosted parties in the park and certification of hired security.

Other ideas consist of incorporating anti-violence or anti-gang violence education into local school’s curriculum and enacting a summer job program for at-risk teens.

Thom says that like her peers, she too has experienced losing friends and family to gun violence and believes that “it only takes one person or one thing to stop events like this.” Click here to listen to Jennelle Thom’s solution for gun control.

The City Council ordinance, which passed by a 7 to 2 vote margin in last Tuesday’s meeting, calls for the adult supervision of minors in Coolidge Park between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.