A group of about 20 black men organized themselves on Facebook to meet at Studio 29 Tuesday. It was one night after the fatal shooting death of NaGus Griggs, an 18-year-old York man.
They were there to answer a complex question: “What can we do to stop the next killing?”
Griggs, a stand-out basketball player at New Hope Academy, was shot and killed Monday night in the city. He was the second former athlete and York resident lost to a shooting in the last two months. Griggs, and Dashaun Davis, 23, were both killed while sitting in a car.
The latest killing was decried by York Mayor Kim Bracey who called upon the community.
On Tuesday night, at the impromptu meeting, the men, who included football coaches, local pastors and school principals, never addressed a specific murder. Instead, they discussed ways of reaching a common goal – reducing the violent, street mentality-driven culture being bred in the city of York among its youth.
I could hear it in their voices – it was determination, deep-seated passion, even desperate at points. The men weren’t afraid to voice their own opinions. Rather, they were eager to listen to each other.
One of the men, Rev. Oscar Rossam, who is cousins with Griggs, attended the meeting. He noted how there is a very noticeable change in young men from when they are in elementary and then when he sees them in middle school. They have lost all respect for their elders and their attitudes are “crazy,” the Reverend said.
As the meeting continued, some more steps for reaching the youth were brought up. Fathers and mothers need to model what the kids will become, it was said. The older generation needs to be present for the kids. A simple introduction and asking them how they are doing works.
For Kerry Glover, president of the Boys Club of York, it’s not a matter of preaching to the troubled kids who are using guns to solve problems.
“Too much free time is the most dangerous thing. Not guns,” Glover said Tuesday night. “We respond to what the kids give us.”
Glover’s plan is to listen to the young men and women of York, providing them with a safe environment to talk about their issues.
From there, an action plan can be formed, Glover said.
The meeting is only the start. Hopefully, by word of mouth, the group will grow over the coming weeks. The problem, I think, will not be fixed over night. It’s going to take a step-by-step approach.