Operation Save Our Sons holds open youth forum

Published On: Aug 26 2014 10:30:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 26 2014 11:47:25 PM EDT

The shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer reopened wounds all across the country. Now, Jacksonville's sheriff, along with local leaders in the black community, hope the Missouri teen's death will help start a conversation in our city.


The pastor who founded Operation Save Our Sons hosted an open forum for youth Tuesday night at his sanctuary in northwest Jacksonville.

The Rev. John Guns asked parents to observe and let young people be the ones who asked the questions. The goal was to open a dialogue between between the city's youth and law enforcement.

Video cameras were not allowed in the church during the program so the teens would feed comfortable and could be transparent.

A panel of four police officers along with four teenagers took the stage. On the floor in front of them were mostly young people with their parents or other adults in the back of the room, or on the balcony.

The hour-long effort seemed to have created a desire for more.

"I think this is a great start and I think it should be duplicated all over the city," said RL Gundy, president of the Florida Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "I think (Pastor) John should take the lead, and teach us pastors how to do that. Then we'll continue to move forward, because these kids need to be able to have a dialogue with the sheriff's office."

Chief Pat Ivey, with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, said he would like to see the effort spread to other zones across the city.

"It's gonna happen," said Ivey. "We've already met with pastors, and I think with the partnership gained here we're going to push it citywide."


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