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The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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“Let’s Talk About It” gun violence discussion sheds light on issues

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Garrett Lindsey

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the University of North Alabama chapter of the NAACP held a panel regarding the controversial topic of gun violence in American homes, communities, and schools.

Tralynn Meeks, UNA NAACP Executive Board Member At-Large was a member of the panel, as well as one of the planners for the project.

“We wanted to do a series of events on things that directly impact, not just students in the NAACP, but students in our campus, and all campuses,” Meeks said. “The first thing we thought to do would be gun violence because it’s getting worse and worse as the years go by.”

The NAACP had to be careful in their approach to the heavy, and often politically charged, topic of gun violence. In planning the event, they wanted to assemble a diverse panel of people who have experienced gun violence from different perspectives such as law-enforcement officers, lawyers, pastors and others with experience regarding the issue. 

The goal of the event, according to Meeks, was to have an open discussion for people of all backgrounds to discuss, and become more educated on the topic of gun violence. He said that the chapter wanted to create an open forum to help share knowledge, clear misconceptions and help discuss real, practical solutions to help solve the problem.

“There’s a lot of ‘We’re going to ban this! We’re going to ban this!’; we are not actually understanding what we’re banning,” Meeks said. “When you talk about ‘Guns in the United States’, that’s a big broad topic. That’s not just gun stores; that’s not just someone having a gun in their house… We’re wanting to get people to have a way bigger understanding than what’s actually out in the media.”

The event has been a long time coming. The NAACP has been trying to organize the event for around a year. They are also hoping for it to return for more installments in the future.

The meeting began with an introduction by Jayla Witchard, President of the on-campus NAACP chapter. After this, Rowena Turner, another Executive Board Member At-Large, introduced the panel of Meeks and Pastor Stephen Gill. 

Meeks, a member of the United States military, and Gill, a member of the Sheffield Civil Service Board, shared some of their own experiences with gun violence throughout the night, in addition to fostering in-depth conversations with several audience members. 

During the event, the panel discussed the importance of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the difficulty of firearm regulation, and the motives behind some of the more recent tragedies of gun violence in our country.

Meeks’ goal of sharing knowledge to help mutual understanding was perhaps best achieved regarding the importance of mental health. Gill placed a great emphasis on the role played by communities with helping treat people with respect.

Altogether, the event provided a safe space for anyone to ask questions or discuss a typically controversial and divisive topic. 

Many members of the NAACP chapter made mention of future installments of the event. The on-campus NAACP chapter advisor, Audrey Mitchell, wants to help spread the word so more events can happen.

“Tell somebody. It’s time to come into a room like this and have serious dialogue,” Mitchell said. “Let’s have communication to end up in love… love is where it’s going to change.”

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About the Contributor
Trevor Mickle
Trevor Mickle, News Editor
Trevor is a freshman student from Jemison, Alabama, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Digital Media Production. Trevor is excited to get involved on campus help keep students informed on important topics in our community.

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