Mayor joins discussion on violence in Nashville

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry part of discussion on murders in Nashville (WZTV).

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It's not a topic that's easy to talk about, but the conversation needs to be had: teens and gun violence in Nashville.

Last year, there were 90 homicides involving a gun in Music City.

Sahtika Begley's daughter was one of the victims.

"I think we need to quit letting these juveniles out and start making examples out of them for killing my 16-year-old daughter for no reason at all, that I cry every day about," said Begley.

Begley was one of the concerned parents to sit in the pews at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church Saturday morning.

Finding a solution to this horrific and heartbreaking problem was the focus of the community discussion, hosted by Partners in the Struggle.

Mayor Barry served as guest speaker, responding to audience questions and explaining what the community needs to do prevent violence.

"I still love her, everybody makes mistakes, and I think when she was speaking out on gun violence and our kids being killed to gun violence, she's also lost a child so she's felt where we were coming from," says Begley.

While Begley called for tighter penalties for suspects, others think kids just need more things to do.

"I think we as leaders and citizens of Nashville, we need to find better options for our youths so they won't have to pick up that gun, so they won't have to break in to that gun shop to sell the gun on the streets to make money," says Earl Jordan, founder of Partners in the Struggle.

"We've got to focus on the kids on what they can be doing before they ever get that gun," adds Barry.

Mayor Barry talked about the need for quality Pre-K, increased literacy, paid jobs and internships, and free after school programs to keep kids busy and safe.

"This is not one program that's going to solve it, it's all these pieces together as a community that I talked about supporting kids from the time they're born all the way through their youth, and in high school," said Barry.

"It worries me to come out of my door because I don't know if there's going to be a juvenile out there, every time you turn on the news it's about a juvenile," says Begley.

This is the second of a series of community conversations hosted by Partners in the Struggle this year.

The DA's office was the special guest at the first event in January.

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