02/22/11 — Group to focus on city's black youths

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Group to focus on city's black youths

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on February 22, 2011 1:46 PM

Not long after Mayor Al King granted an interview during which he unwrapped what he sees as the problems facing young black males in Goldsboro and surrounding areas, Tanyetta Strickland Sutton made a decision.

"Let's come up with a solution. Let's stop talking about it around the water fountain," she said. "Let's address it as a whole."

So she started putting together a presentation -- one that would include, among other things, crime statistics compiled at the Goldsboro Police Department -- and once it was complete, she stood before members of the City Council.

Mrs. Strickland-Sutton addressed members of the board Monday evening at City Hall.

And by the time she had finished, her stance seemed fairly clear.

"We're constantly back where we started .. because we don't want to address the family issues ... and environment," she said. "It's a revolving door."

And the problems King addressed during that interview are, indeed, critical, she added.

"It's an issue that not only effects one person or two people ... but a community," Mrs. Strickland-Sutton said. "It takes a village to raise a child. ... It really does. It takes more than just parents. ... It's going to take the community. It's going to take communities raising these kids, again."

And a good place to start, she told the board, was at a town hall meeting.

So she encouraged all local residents who want to make a difference to show up at Herman Park Center March 26 at 12 p.m.

"We need everyone involved," Mrs. Strickland-Sutton said. "But, most importantly, we need the experience of the males who are experiencing this on a day-to-day basis."

And her hope is that by starting a real discussion, the plight of young black males will change course.

"Believe it or not, people do want change. They really want to solve this problem," she said. "We're ready. It's time."

After the presentation, King applauded those members of the black community who showed up to the meeting for their commitment to change.

And he threw his support behind their effort -- vowing to be among those in attendance March 26.

"Just maybe, we can help one," King said. "But I have a feeling we can help many more."