MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Amid concern for the growing crisis of violent crime in South Florida, residents and local leaders gathered on Sunday to take a stand and discuss the topic to find solutions.
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), in conjunction with the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department, local activists and the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, held the Community-Wide MLK Non-Violence Forum in advance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday.
The discussion was meant to honor the legacy of the civil rights hero and champion of nonviolence by exploring diverse and viable solutions to the region’s growing gun violence and other violent crime.
Parents of several victims of violent crime including 12-year-old Tequila Forshee, and 26-year-old Eviton Brown also participated in the discussion which took place at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium.
“This is very painful. The pain I learned will never go away. It’s something that we’ve got to learn to live with,” said Glenn Forshee, the father of Tequila. “At this point I have no choice but to take the strengths of the ones from the past Martin Luther King, Malcom X…People as close as my father and have to take their strengths and endure and try to do something positive with this pain.”
Actor Charles “Roc” Dutton from the TV series “Roc,” actress JoMarie Payton from the TV series “Family Matters,” and recording artist Betty Wright also attended the event. Wright’s 21-year-old son Patrick Parker was also killed by gun violence.
Wilson had a message for locals concerned about the violence and those who may want to help.
“Wake up because you could be next. Speak up because you can be next. Don’t be afraid because your son could be next. Your neighbor could be next. Your grandmother could be next so wake up, tell what you see,” said Wilson.