NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With the recent violence across the country and the world, people are working for change within their neighborhoods.
Dozens gathered Sunday evening at Preston Taylor Community Center for a “Stop the Violence” cookout.
The community gathering was spearheaded by a felon who served his time and now wants to use his own experience to make a difference.
PREVIOUS STORY: Former felon hosts event to stop youth violence in Nashville
“I just did like 13 years in prison,” Kenny Turner told News 2.
He was locked up for murder at 19 years old.
“It really changed my life and I got to where I’m at today.”
Turner recently started a mentoring program for kids called Make a Change.
“We’re just trying to get our city together and make everybody come together for the kids,” Turner explained.
Annette Martin was among those that gathered Sunday afternoon, hoping to make a change.
“You are either part of the problem or your part of the solution. We need to teach love to our children, embrace them and that’s why I’m here to embrace brother and sisterly love,” Martin said.
Over the past five years, almost 17,000 violent incidents in Nashville involved youth. The city ranked second in the highest percentage increase in murders from 41 in 2014 to 78 in 2015.
Half of those killed were younger than 25.
Taylor says that’s why he hopes to keep kids from going down the same path he traveled.
“I struggled all my life. Mama was on drugs, daddy was in and out of prison, so you know, I know what they’re going through out here.”
The group will also host a “Stop the Violence Back to School Jam” August 6 at Monroe Park.