ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The violent afternoon on Thursday has some community members worried about their safety. Some Rockford volunteers are calling for change.
“I just dropped him off like an hour before it happened, and I was sitting just kind of waiting because I just like to wait and enjoy the weather, and some crazy stuff started happening,” said Tyler Shih, who witnessed a shooting on Thursday afternoon.
After three separate shootings in two hours in the Rockford area, one local area group is calling for change.
“No city should go through what we’re going through right now. If I had kids, I wouldn’t even want them to play outside because I don’t even feel safe outside,” said Brian Harrington, Jr.
Live Free Rockford, a group dedicated to reducing gun violence in the Forest City, is planning on asking local leaders for financial help in hopes of creating new alternative programs for area youth.
“That’s the end goal, to get funding for an office right here in Rockford, to where we can be hands on in implementing these strategies,” said Harrington Jr.
Harrington is a volunteer with Live Free Rockford. He says meeting kids where they are is essential to making a difference.
“We want to be hands-on to show them different ways, to show them different examples of what success looks like, to show them different avenues they can go down. Different ways to express anger, different ways to deal with things that they deal with rather than the things they’re being shown,” he explained.
Harringon believes there are too many people in the area who aren’t aware of the effects gun violence can have. He says something has to be done.
“As a Rockford community, I feel like we should all know there’s a crisis going on and we all can do something. It shouldn’t be something we should be used to, and I feel like the way we move now, it’s like we’re used to it,” Harrington said.