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Crime

Read Ned Oliver’s “Why do teens keep getting murdered in Richmond?”

I taught for almost a decade at MLK Middle School, and in doing do so became connected to the East End in a way that would have been likely impossible to me otherwise. I met thousands of students who lived in the area’s public housing, in Fulton, in Blackwell, in Church Hill North, and it completely changed how I saw the world.

Some former students I know have prospered, going on to UVA, ODU, VCU, or building careers and their own families. One of my favorites is set for the Marines later this year. Too god damn many others, though, have made their mark here by being shot or shooting someone else.

Brandon Minns was in my first class at MLK. I taught Alex Jackson, Jermaine Noble, a kid nicknamed Toast whose real name is lost to me. There are too many others. I had students lose uncles and fathers to the violence.

In my time up here, I’ve heard a man shot to death a block away, and witnessed a man try to shoot another man. I was a grown ass man at the time and these incidents shook me.

I was peripheral to the area’s violence for but a stretch of years, and it left a mark on me. God help the kids growing up into this.

Take the time to read Ned Oliver’s Why do teens keep getting murdered in Richmond?, it’s by far the best writing I’ve read on this mess.

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27 comments

EastEnder 06/23/2017 at 8:03 PM

I read the Oliver piece and it is absolutely heartbreaking.

Mayor Stoney needs to ask state authorities for more resources. For one, the overworked and understaffed police department in the East End need help. Enough vigils and appeals to love one another. Also, economic revitalization is desperately needed along the nine mile corridor. New businesses can generate employment and worker training opportunities.

I sincerely hope that the mayor make the East End public housing communities a critical priority during his administration. City government can no longer be reactive, it needs to develop proactive measures.

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MP 06/23/2017 at 8:04 PM

Read it, now what do we do to fix this???

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Inn At Patrick Henry's 06/23/2017 at 7:24 PM

"I know some people who get locked up on purpose around wintertime because they don’t have anywhere to stay or anywhere to eat," Dadon said. "They just get locked up for something petty just so they can go eat down in jail for free." …. that’s rough friends.How do we create opportunities for youth? I wish I had the answer. I do.

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J 06/23/2017 at 8:52 PM

I kept saying it . Gangs gangs gangs. Well in Richmond and D.C. Case it’s crews and mobs just another name for gangs here.

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Glenn Anderson 06/23/2017 at 11:06 PM

Excellent piece. A must read for all.

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DontMinceWords 06/24/2017 at 12:22 AM

@4/J – I thought of you and all your “I’m telling you people” rants when I read this. Back in the 90s, I think, is when the major metros started “gang task forces.” Seems now, we need digital/desktop gang monitoring. Like you said and Ned discovered, gang members become “bigger” thanks to social media. What IS the solution?

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J 06/24/2017 at 7:52 AM

@DontMinceWords

The solution is field trips, education, jobs. Be leave it or not field trips removing these youngings from there everyday surrondings is a good idea. You have to be around successful people (role models) to be successful! Better education, education that actually gets the kids more envolved. Of course jobs jobs jobs, because who is going to work for $5 per hr when you can make $500-1,000 a night on the block? I am not saying the job has to pay these people $500 a day but 30k a year would be a fair start. If not Richmond can continue being a “Murder Capital”. I know these three things wont help everyone because you do have some idiots out there. But for a majority of the population it would work!

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J 06/24/2017 at 7:59 AM

I was born and raised in Norfolk,VA. I grew up in the city’s Berkley community which is also home to the Bell Diamond, Diggs Park, Oakleaf park (public housing) and Sumler Terrance (section 8) . My neighborhood made national news this year with a facebook live shooting. I may have had a small taste of the rough life but I did not lose my life selling crack or heroin, going to jail, or being gun downed in the streets like a dog. Today I am a proud merchant seaman making six figures a year. I owe to atleast two of the three things I mention above. Role models and Education (atleast some type of common sense).

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Mary 06/24/2017 at 1:49 PM

On reading the RTD piece I cannot help but think of Gerson’s phrase “The soft bigotry of low expectations…”

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Eric S. Huffstutler 12/11/2017 at 9:25 PM

Has anyone heard of MoveHub? There is apparently an article linked to Neighborhoods in RVA.com, where this organization rated Richmond VA #5 city in the USA of the Hippest Places for people under 30 to move to. Apparently, they did not read a newspaper or watch the news in Richmond. Or experience city officials?

Sorry to hijack this thread but it was the closest I could post in after a search, that seemed to be an oxymoron.

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Sean Stilwell 12/12/2017 at 1:20 PM

To be fair, under 30 crowd doesn’t much care about city officials, and the relatively super low cost of living, vibrant art/music scene, and bar/food/etc factors all point in the same direction.

Every one of the hippest cities has crime in the poor areas. Richmond has a remarkably small amount of crime, the gentrification process has been much less violent than other cities. Murders here are less random, and more about turf or drug trade.

The hip “under 30’s imports” in Scott’s Addition/Machester/etc aren’t getting killed by the folks in Ned’s article.

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