ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A shooting in St. Pete sent two men to the hospital Friday after police say an altercation broke out on 9th Avenue South near the Historic Kenwood neighborhood.
That shooting happened just hours before a community initiative to combat violent crime was set to kick-off.
Though the event didn’t go as planned, St. Petersburg neighbors were ready to fight for the futures of kids in the area.
“We were going to hit the streets, and do our canvassing,” said Rev. Kenny Irby, the Director of Community Intervention for St. Petersburg Police Department.
Mother Nature had other plans. Severe weather caused organizers to formally postpone this year’s “Not My Child” anti-violence kick-off event.
But in true Florida fashion, the sun came back out shortly after that decision was made, and so did the community ready to make a change.
“It’s everybody’s business,” one neighbor said, adding that children need to see that the community cares.
Kizzie Miller, whose family members have been impacted by violent crime, rushed over after work with plans to help spread the word.
“Not my Child” is designed to get young people involved with available community programs and positive relationships in an effort to combat violent crime.
Miller says a lot of kids are going down the wrong path because their parents are struggling.
“You have moms that are working two-three jobs because the economy has gotten so high that they have to work harder just to try to provide,” she said. “Now you have children feeling like, ‘I see my parents suffering,’ or ‘I feel like I need to go to go get a job.’ The first thing that’s available is what? To go out there and get a couple of drugs and get money that way.”
Neighbors say it’s up to elected leaders and the community to make overall improvements and show kids that there a better way.
There will be more canvassing opportunities if you want to get involved with helping parents take the pledge to say “Not My Child.”
The next event will be at 6 p.m. June 2, over at Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on 5th Avenue South in St. Pete.