Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes announced that he is hosting a summit dubbed ‘Stop The Madness’ on Nov. 8 in hopes of reducing violent crime in Jackson and turning youth away from violence.
“(Elected officials’) job is to make sure that the city is run smoothly and safely,” Stokes said in a Thursday press briefing. “That’s your job, and if you’re not doing your job, you owe them an apology, or you need to leave the job.”
Stokes’ decision to hold the summit comes amid a succession of murders, shootings and violent crime in the capital city.
In one incident on Halloween night, three teenagers reportedly robbed WAPT’s Megan West and her family at gunpoint in an attempted carjacking while the family had been out trick-or-treating on St. Ann Street in Belhaven.
“You’re going to pull a gun to people out with their children for trick-or-treating, and you think that’s okay?” Stokes said. “We’ve got to get those knuckleheads off the street. I don’t care whose children they are; I don’t care whose grandchildren they are. That is wrong.”
“It’s tragic when anyone has been victimized like this,” Ward 5 Councilman Vernon Hartley said of the West family robbery. “It stays with you, and it does something for you. But it’s happening all over.”
The Jackson Police Department reported 102 carjackings in 2020, while this year JPD has reported 83 incidents so far.
Stokes invited all concerned community members and leadership to attend the summit.
“Don’t wait until your loved one is killed or shot or hurt or in jail before you say ‘I needed to come,’” Stokes said. “We’re inviting everybody to come out. We’re not going to keep you all day and night, but this madness has got to stop.
The Councilman voiced concern for Jackson youth caught up in the violence, warning that violence will beget violence.
“I’m not going to bring race into this, but if you think that the white community is going to continue to let young Blacks shoot them, rob them and hurt them without responding—Jackson has changed, Mississippi has changed, but we ain’t changed that much,” Stokes said.
“If you love your children, if you love your grandchildren, get those guns out of their hands because somebody is going to kill them,” he said. “Once they’re dead, they ain’t coming back.”
The “Stop The Madness” Summit will be held at Cornerstone Baptist Church, located at 418 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Belhaven at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 8.
Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].