Twin States News continues our coverage of the ongoing violence that is plaguing Meridian. We sat down with a highly respected community leader who believes everyone in the city should be uncomfortable with the amount of crime.
Ricky Hood is the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club in Meridian. Hood told us that something has to be done soon to stop the violence in the city, and he believes adults can play a huge role.
“I think the people that are in authority, in positions to influence kids really need to come from out of the shadows and come into the light”, stated Hood. “How many young people do we have to lose? How scared do we have to be in the evening times, in the nighttime, or in the daytime for somebody to speak up and say something?”
Hood believes starting a dialog could help combat crime but says he’s hearing crickets and is frustrated with city officials.
“What have they been doing? And don't edit that. What have they been doing? I've had conversations. And I like all of them and this didn't start with them. This is not about just good people. All of those are good people, but good people have to be able to do their job. The police are the last people that I get to in this process because they come after things have happened, but they need to be a part of the solution. So, I hadn't been hearing anything. If it's something being said. You need to inform me, or somebody needs to let me know. And I understand they're going to see this broadcast and I'm OK with that.”
Twin States News reached out to the city for a comment on Hood’s claims, but we did not get a response.
Hood believes everyone in Meridian should be upset with all the violence and be motivated to do something about it.
“Everybody ought to feel uncomfortable, not just the mayor, the city council, the board of supervisors, any elected official, everybody should feel uncomfortable. When you lose an 18-year-old that's a senior in high school, regardless of what they say was going on. When you lose a five-year-old. When you lose another 19-year-old, and you lose a 46-year-old. Gary got killed in Eastern Garden. I don't care what happened. It ought to be somebody, it ought to be an uproar, it ought to be something going on and somebody needs to be saying something”, stated Ricky Hood.
This fight to end the violence is personal for Hood:
“I lost a grandson to gun violence in Montgomery. So, I know what that feels like as a grandparent and what my daughter feels like having lost a son. They do make choices, but that doesn't make it go away. You still need to do something. When does it stop? Is it going to be another one, another one? What are we doing to prevent the next one? And I don't see anything personally that's going to stop this.”
Ricky Hood made it clear that he doesn’t have all the answers on how to end the violence, but he does have an idea of what can help. Tonight, on Twin States News you will more about Ricky Hood’s ideas to end the violence in Meridian.