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Block party promotes unity, works to stop teen violence

A rise in youth violence, brings community organizations together.

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Edward Burch
NASHVILLE, TN — A rise in youth violence, brings community organizations together.

Their goal -- focusing on how to make music city better, and save lives.

Several community organizations helped organize a block party at City Gear in East Nashville.

Organizers say events like this one helps create a sense of unity and can change the culture that leads to youth violence.

"I'm from the inner city, so I've did my share of things. But, the thing is, to try and fix it," said organizer DJ Coop. "That's the main message. Change is good. You don't have to do certain stupid things to feel like you need to be fit-in or something."

Since February, Metro's juvenile crime task force has arrested more than 100 teenagers, charged with felonies.

Destiny Couch is the manager of City Gear. She said, "(Teens) don't have anything to do. That's why they're doing it. If they have more positive organizations to come to, and to feel safe and someone to talk to, they will feel safe and someone to talk to, they'll have something positive to do."

Many say, troubled youths need a father-figure in the community. Ultimately, they encourage young people to surround themselves with positive people.

"It starts at home. It takes a village. It starts at home," said Couch. "I feel like everybody needs to come together. Everyone is so focused on what's going on the internet and the TV that no one is focused on what's going on in the community today."

In 2017, there were more than 20 homicide victims under 19 years old.

The mayor's office is re-launching a youth sports league that metro used to have in the 1990s. They are also starting a program in July where teen offenders meet with their victims, who then work together to make things right.

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