Horrific Murders of Children in Syracuse Highlight Community Needs – Statement by Legislator Vernon M. Williams, Jr.

Over the past week, the terrible cycle of violence in our city reached an incredibly painful level with the murders of two children.

A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed on Friday, and then a 13-year-old girl was stabbed and killed Monday night. My heart breaks for these children and their families. I am praying for them and for our community today.

The suspects in both cases are minors. These tragic and horrific episodes shine a light on a bigger problem: far too many of our kids are growing up without enough positive influences in their lives.

Those positive influences need to come from their families, from youth programs, and by offering more job opportunities for young people in our community.

It’s not easy raising kids while holding down one, two, or three jobs while still living in poverty. That’s why we need support for parents as well.

We need more and better-funded athletic leagues and we need to get our kids enrolled and attending those leagues. We need to invest in community centers, after-school programs, and more community outreach so our government and our community organizations can be more in tune with what our neighborhoods need.

I’ll fight for those investments in our community. I can’t do it alone. We all need to work together.

We can curb the cycle of violence that’s even more terrible when it involves our children. It will not come soon enough for those who lost their lives over the past week, but when I look to the future, I believe that change is possible.