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'We're sick of the shootings': North Omaha community members host roundtable discussion

Topics included crime, COVID-19 and racism
Posted at 10:23 PM, Aug 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 23:23:24-04

OMAHA, Neb. — North Omaha activists and community members say they're fed up with the violence in their neighborhoods.

"We're all sick of seeing the shootings. We're all fed up with community leaders," one community member said.

At a roundtable discussion in North Omaha Sunday, community members put the focus on the youth and the trauma they're experiencing with COVID-19 and high rates of violence.

"The trauma that they're experiencing even with COVID-19 piled on top of it is a very severe issue that's going on," event attendee and employee at Center for Holistic Development Michelle Butler said.

They want to continue important conversations that started months ago.

"You have those that will talk about it and it'll be a trend for a little while and it'll gain a little momentum. Then, nothing," event organizer and founder of Woman to Woman Organization Tamika Mease said.

Mease says these conversations may be uncomfortable, but necessary.

"We just need to address those issues and answer those hard questions and really come up with solutions," she said.

Mease also specifically wants to focus on the youth, what they're going through and how to better help them. She lost two of her step-children to suicide and says taking care of mental well-being is as important as ever, no matter the age.

"Lifting every voice is really important to me and near and dear to my heart, to let our loved ones know if you're hurting it's okay. Speak up. We can help you. You don't have to keep it to yourself," Mease said.

Although some at the meeting disagreed on how to solve some of the issues, the overall goal was to get the ball rolling on effective and meaningful conversation.

"I feel like in the African American community we have to have the conversation among ourselves before we can go and have the bigger conversation," Butler said.

This is the second roundtable discussion Mease has organized. She said she wants to continue the events until real change comes about.