It was a show of community support at First Baptist Church in Galesburg yesterday, as residents, religious leaders and community leaders gathered to talk about the rapid rise in violence across the City.
The conversation centered around the events of December 22, and although Javon Butlers murder was not the main reason behind the Youth, Family, Community, Gun Violence and Prayer town hall meeting, it was perhaps the catalyst.
One of the speakers during yesterday’s town hall was Galesburg High School Basketball Coach Mike Reynolds. Reynolds not only knew Butler, but knew both alleged killers.
He told the crowd he started to facilitate change the only way he knew how, in his Freshman Health class.
“I posed the question to them, you know, they’re in the community: what can we do?” says Reynolds. “I know there’s a lot of questions and things as we came back to school, what can we do to stop violence? And they wrote a journal, and had a lot of different things in it. tThe one comment at the end of the journal and there’s actually a couple of things they wrote that I’m going to read you. Did Galesburg fail us or are we failing them?”
Reynolds explained the kids are very much aware of what’s going on and just like the rest of the community they’re looking for answers on how to stop the violence.
However, the answer to that question is not easy, but it starts with an open dialog.