SAN ANTONIO – Residents of District 2 say they are fed up with violence plaguing the streets on the East Side and are desperate for change after a child was shot at a church event Sunday at the Greater Faith Institutional Church.
“This violence is pitiful,” said Germaine Carson, an East Side resident. “People don’t have anything to do but violence, which is why it continues to give this side of town a negative look. A lot of people come from a broken home here on the East Side, so if we can touch them a bit and get more activities, I think it would make San Antonio a better place.”
After Sunday’s shooting, Dr. Alanda White, a member of Chi Eta Phi nursing sorority, plans to continue giving back to the community on the East Side by providing trauma counseling to the children impacted by gun violence.
“I’m going there to listen to them and to give them a place to speak and express themselves about what happened,” White said. “Children deal with trauma differently than adults. They internalize it, do not speak about it. Children want to be heard. They need to be heard. Sometimes, they don’t want us to fix it. They just need to be heard.”
White said violence such as Sunday’s shooting could have lasting effects.
“It causes them to be anxious, depressed, nervous and the inability to have coping skills, so they suffer and they struggle,” White said.
District 2 Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan said enough is enough in her district. She said she was outraged by another child being an innocent bystander between adult altercations.
“It truly goes to how do we talk to each other as people to get the respect that we need for each other, to know that each and every human life is worth something. And this is not something we want to continue to see in our district. This needs to stop. Our youth are already going through enough. They don’t need to go through another traumatic incident of having to live with violence and the scars of violence.”
Andrews-Sullivan is running for re-election to continue serving District 2. She says she is in constant talks with San Antonio police.
“SAPD officers are concerned and concerned that they are working off a checklist here in our district,” Andrews-Sullivan said. “They are concerned they are here to protect and serve, but because the community feels they are the threat and not the help, the morale is down.”
Andrews-Sullivan said it is crucial to encourage trust in police despite the wrong actions of some officers.
“We still respect our police,” Andrews-Sullivan said. “We still need you to walk this beat. We need you to do your daily routine and make sure you are on the ground and people see you. Visibility can make a total difference when you are dealing with a community plagued by violence.”
The council member says change starts within a home and not just with police.
“Even though we are in this BLM movement, our black lives have to matter to our black lives, and this community genocide is not something we want to continue to see,” Andrews-Sullivan said. “Even though we are asking for more transparency and accountability of our police officers, now is that time we have the conversations of what can we do to truly work together.”
Andrews-Sullivan said she hopes encouraging nonviolence pushes for more unity in the community.
“We have to get back to community organization and community unity and understanding,” Andrews-Sullivan said. “If we are not going to do it, nobody is going to do it for us. This is going to take us doing it and putting our hands and feet on the ground to make it happen.”
Pharaoh Clark, a community activist who is running against Andrews-Sullivan, sent KSAT the following statement:
“I believe that I speak for all of District 2 when I say that the time for action has been far exceeded, we are at a point where the only option now is action. Far too long have had to deal with the issues of violence in our community. But, a serious line is crossed when children are victimized at a house of worship. I stand with Bishop Rosa in solidarity, and call on all community leaders, faith leaders, city officials, and citizens to stand together. We demand that the city address the concerns with violence in the community. This starts with community investment. We must make investments in our youth programs, better paying jobs, in education, drug rehabilitation, and addressing mental illness. Studies show when you invest in the community the crime rate goes down.
A article recently published by the New York Times noted that in a population of 100,000 the creation of 10 organizations formed to address violence and build stronger communities led to a 9% drop in the murder rate.”
After Sunday’s shooting, the Greater Faith Institutional Church is holding a prayer vigil event called “Stop In The Name of Love” for those impacted. It starts at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday.