PEORIA, IL. The New Millennium Institute hosted a community forum on Saturday morning to address the leading cause of deaths in the Black community. The death of 4 year old Jeremiah Ward, and other recent shootings among by underage men, has prompted the New Millennium Institute to put together this event they called “Black Genocide”. They said it’s time for the Black community to wake up and assess these behaviors.
The organization brought to the table community leaders to discuss contributing factors to the black on black crimes happening in Peoria.
“We’re not really seeing the community outrage that takes place when someone is murdered. Now if there had been a shooting by a police man, there would have been a tremendous outrage or a tremendous energy to get justice for it,” said Agbar Bryson, founder of New Millennium Institute.
Clergy members were asked if they believe the Black church has lost its impact in the community. Some pastors believe its people who have turned their backs on the church.
“It’s hard to be impactful when people don’t attend. I didn’t get no Amen’s on that.”
Other community leaders believe unemployment or low paying jobs is a cycle that needs to be broken.
“We need entrepreneurship. We need to start teaching our people how to have businesses. A 12 dollar an hour job and 15 dollar an hour job is not going to make it work for our people, period. It breeds depression. So the reason why a lot of things are happening right now is because there is no opportunities,” said Tony Scroggins, a real estate investor.
All in all, those who attended the event agreed that the issue is not simple, but a culmination of many factors that need to get addressed one by one.
Peoria is a struggling community, I want to see positivism and growth. This I think this was a very important way into seeing the Peoria community grow and improve,” said Cecilia Buckner, Peoria community member.
The New Millennium Institute will continue to host events like this in the future, to keep addressing the black on black homicides.