LEXINGTON, Ky. — After a year of violence, people living in the city of Lexington took their concerns directly to city leaders during a forum Monday night hosted by One Lexington.
The public spoke loudly against gun violence in its neighborhoods at the second forum at the east side branch of Lexington's public library.
These community members asked for safer environments, more access to law enforcement and a decrease in overall crime.
A long-time teacher within Fayette County Public Schools, Susan McLaughlin, was one of the residents who spoke out.
Since the tragic death of her student, Trinity Gay, former Olympic track star Tyson gay’s daughter, the teacher said she wants to bring attention to more inclusive thinking when it comes to issues of gun violence.
“It, first of all, shows you when you’re inadvertently using those expressions to create a narrative, but it also highlights where we are running into problems.”
This forum is the second that One Lexington and law enforcement developed with a focus around the city’s efforts on combating gun violence.
Since the last public forum, four more people have been killed and more than a dozen others were hurt in shootings, according to data from the Lexington Police Department.
One Lexington Director Devine Carama said the recent incidents have encouraged more support from diverse groups.
“Now that gun violence is impacting not just one kind of neighborhood, but not just one demographic, and you're seeing it impact so many different people, in my opinion, I believe that more people are caring about this issue," said Carama.
In the last week of September, Lexington experienced homicide No. 37, with 32 of those being gun-related instances.
Doctor Brittney Gentry said one of the key ways the community can prevent recurrent trauma is to listen to the youth of the city.
“Go to those who work with the actual perpetrators of victims and maybe start doing more research — we definitely need updated research on how we can benefit our kids," said Gentry.
According to One Lexington, there have been three under the age of 21 gun-related homicides compared to last year's seven.
Lexington Police Chief Lawerence Weathers and Judge Carl Devine were a few panelists in attendance who spoke on matters of mental health and police involvement.