Community leader looks to county, city leaders for help with gun violence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As president of Heal 901, Keron Cowan says he sees the rise in Memphis violence and its impact on youth.

“Most of the youth that I talk to really have no sense of what a future looks like,” Cowan said.

The most recent example of this came last week when someone shot a 13-year old girl on Riverside Drive as she rode a scooter.

RELATED: 13-year-old shot while riding scooter in Downtown Memphis, police say

Cowan said change starts with reaching out to young people before a life of violence becomes their reality.

“Early intervention is key,” he said. “The younger that we’re able to get to the youth, the more that we can ensure that they will have a productive future.”

Cowan said this isn’t easy for many non-profits.

He said he invests about $30,000 of his own funds each year into Heal 901, but more money is needed for programs and resources for vulnerable communities.

Money to maintain staff and keep kids engaged for the long term.

“If these organizations who are really doing the work, who are proven track records of making change, actually had more funding available to them from the county, the city as well as the state level, I can assure you that we’ll see something different,” he said.

Cowan said the unity walks and other events that speak out against gun violence are good, but more is needed, especially from the county, city, and state leaders.

“What we truly need is if you’re not going to be able to come out here and till this ground with us on a daily basis, at least help us by sowing seeds,” he said.

Heal 901 is preparing to host its first 5K walk/run Saturday at Shelby Farms to help raise awareness and raise money for its prevention programs.

To learn more about this event, click here.