Town hall meeting held in Goulds to address gun violence

GOULDS – Community members and leaders gathered Monday night to discuss gun violence. Law enforcement, government officials, and local activists all stood up to share their thoughts. 

They talked about getting the people who commit these crimes off the street, as well as early intervention that could help prevent violence in the first place. 

“My son was hit by a stray bullet,” Romania Dukes said, addressing the people in the bleachers of the community center.  

She is the founder of Mothers Fighting for Justice and one of the organizers of the town hall. 

” One of the things that I am trying to stop is the code of silence,” she said. “We all stick with that code of silence, and it has to stop. I’m getting emotional about it because, one, mothers like myself, we don’t receive justice until you are speak up. You have to speak up.”

She, along with the group Mothers Demand Action shared the message: No more guns. No more violence. 

“They’re so afraid to go to sleep in my district, what they do is they take the top mattress and they put it on the floor, because they’re worried when they sleep, a stray bullet might go through their window,” said State Representative Kevin Chambliss. “No child should live in a war zone.” 

He represents District 117, which includes Florida City and Homestead.  

This comes after recent violent crime in the area of Southwest Miami-Dade. Last week, CBS 4 reported a total of 12 people shot in four separate shootings, all within a few miles of each other. 

“The craziest thing of all, they’re not shooting for money. They’re not shooting for dope. They’re shooting for foolishness,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez. 

“You’ve got kids on kids shooting each other,” he continued. “You’ve got 13 or 15-year-old victims. I have a 14-year-old son. All right? I’m tired of seeing kids do that.” 

They talked about the importance of informing parents and students about the programs available through the schools or community involvement. 

A few of the ones that were highlighted included the Miami-Dade “Fit to Lead” and “YOU” programs. Others included Guitars Over Guns 

And building trust and collaboration to make sure people committing dangerous crimes are caught. 

“We need to partner with the community so that they will feel confident to tell us when they know something,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. 

There is some good news. According to the latest numbers from Miami-Dade Police, homicides are down 27% since this time last year. Mayor Levine Cava also said they have taken 1,400 illegal firearms off the streets in the county. 

Regarding these latest shootings, no arrests have been made. Crimestoppers reminds people they can call anonymously to report any details to 305-471-TIPS. 

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