Community leaders proactively planning events, efforts to prevent child deaths this year

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department reported 38 children died violently last year which is more than double from 2019 when 17 children died.

Community activist Stevie Moore said he is tired of mourning young lives lost.

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“These are our babies and they’re dying, and we need to stop it. That’s my mission for 2021,” said Moore who is the founder and president of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives.

MPD reports 30 of the 38 deaths involving children were murders.

With his organization Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives, Moore said they’re working on improve relationships with police and working with the community to speak up before tragedy happens.

“You gotta say something. You see the stuff going on, you see it brewing, you know who got the gun before they kill,” said Moore. " I keep saying this, the police is called after the fact, the community knows before the fact so if we fix those two together, we can try to solve this.”

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Across town in Frayser, Legacy of Legends CDC continues to offer mental health check-ins for kids. Executive Director Charlie Caswell said they’re also increasing resources for parents.

“Parent training to really be trauma-informed and trauma-responsive when it comes to helping raise their children in an environment such as we’re dealing with, with the pandemic and they’re not having that social connection, social impact with other children,” said Caswell.

With the ongoing pandemic keeping many schools closed, Caswell said they’re launching innovative ways to connect with more students including enrichment education camps along with afterschool programs.

“The afterschool program will give them that social contact and give them a way to still let off some steam, being able to release and talk to somebody,” said Caswell.

Additionally, community leaders say they’re planning another Unity Walk Against Gun Violence for next month.