CINCINNATI — Following the deadly Fourth of July shooting that claimed two lives and wounded three others at Smale Park, community leaders continue to gather to seek ways to reduce gun violence in Cincinnati.
Many activists at Saturday's event in Roselawn agreed the key is tied to the city's youth.
"We could spend a whole day and people say, 'Oh, this is what we do' and 'This is what my group does,'" said Damon Lynch, pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church. "But unless we do it together, it's not enough."
Lynch hosted a community meeting Saturday, where the conversation focused on how residents can work together to lift up the city's youth.
"There's a group of young people out here who are awesome, who are losing their lives," said Lynch. "They're gifted. They're talented. I think that our city sees them as invisible and they feel invisible."
Across town, at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Avondale, a similar discussion was being held.
"What we need to do right now is to hear, to listen and hear what our youth is saying, because they are crying out in their actions," said Victor Phillips, who is currently running for Cincinnati City Council.
Phillips organized the gathering, which drew people in the community concerned about a recent uptick in gun violence involving young people in Cincinnati.
"I need for people to stop blaming these young kids," said Melody Bostic, who lives in Over-the-Rhine. "They need to be loved on...and understand what they've been through, because it's a struggle out here."
In order to keep young people in Cincinnati safe and out of trouble, activists at both meetings agreed adults must make an extra effort to listen to and support the younger generation in their communities.
"Sometimes they make the wrong turn, but we're here to help them get back on track," said Phillips.
Cincinnati Police have added extra patrols throughout the city for the weekend to try and keep people safe, but the department has agreed with community leaders that everyone has to step up and work together to actually reduce gun violence in the city.