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NAACP to host roundtable on York City violence

Sean Philip Cotter
  • The York NAACP will host a forum Tuesday about the causes of violence in York City.
  • The event will be at 6 p.m. at Crispus Attucks, 605 S. Duke St.

The York NAACP will host a roundtable discussion Tuesday evening with the goal of trying to get to the roots of the problem of violence around the city.

"We’re having a forum to ask the people: 'Why is this?'" said Sandra Thompson, the head of the local NAACP branch.

Sandra Thompson

The group is holding the discussion at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Crispus Attucks Community Center at 605 S. Duke St. in York City, according to Thompson.

She's recruited several people who work directly with city youth to take part. She said most of the people leading the public discussions about the local violence are disconnected from the violence and the streets it's found on. It's mainly middle- to upper-class people, often white, who are a few stages removed from the shootings, she said.

Thompson used herself an an example — yes, she grew up as a black girl around poverty, but now she's closing in on 50 and has spent her adult life as an attorney, so she's removed from the streets, too, she said.

So for this discussion, she's rounded up people — mostly people of color — who work more directly with the youth, in an effort to get perspectives that often are left out, she said.

"Let’s engage the unusual suspects in conversation," Thompson said.

She said she's looking for a "no-holds-barred" discussion of why kids in York City keep shooting at each other.

"We’re not looking to sugarcoat it," Thompson said. "We’re not looking for the political rhetoric."

Less than two weeks ago, 27-year-old Davonne Swan was shot to death in the first block of East Maple Street, just a couple of blocks from where this NAACP meeting will be held. Police say the Manchester man and Andrew Gene Holloway Jr., 29, got into a fight the evening of June 16, and the fight ended with Holloway shooting him to death.

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A week before that, eight people were reported shot June 9 in five incidents around the city; that included one in the early morning; one later in the morning when a man shot a sheriff's deputy, who then shot him to death; and then three shootings that injured five people that night, according to police.

Thompson hopes to get a strong turnout for the discussion.

"If we get active participation, I think it will be good," she said.

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What would help even more, she said, is if younger people came to the event, too.

"What would be really great would be to get mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles to drag the youth out," she said.

— Reach Sean Cotter atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.