KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The city program, Save Our Sons, continues to work toward a zero-violence community — encouraging the community to lend their support.
The program, started under Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, was established to increase the overall effectiveness of the community’s efforts to eliminate violence-related deaths in boys and young men of color, from 14-24 years old.
Rogero hosted a Save Our Sons Summit in November 2014 that included 180 individuals from 60 agencies, organizations, and churches. From there, the program grew.
Kevin Perry and Tatia Harris co-manage the Save Our Sons initiative. Anytime there is a death in the community, they say the need for the work within the program becomes from imperative.
“As tragic as it is we try to think optimistically, and try to think positively… we want to lend our support to the families and to the community. It helps us to understand that this work has to continue,” said Perry.
Most recently, 21-year-old Tashawn Forbes was killed in what Knoxville Police say they suspect was a drive-by shooting. It happened on Tuesday on the 3800 block of Selma Avenue in East Knoxville.
Perry knew Forbes’ family and says it is a tragic reminder of why the work within the Save Our Sons program is necessary.
“I’m more committed and I’m more compassionate. So knowing this family, it helps me to be able to love on them even more. it also gives me a perspective that the work has to continue,” said Perry.
Harris agrees, she says the work happening within SOS isn’t realized overnight, but over time with community support.
“This work is not for weak people. We don’t always see immediate results… i look at it like I’m planting a seed, 5 years from now 10 years from now we’re planting the seeds for it to grow…” said Harris.
SOS will continue to partner with community organizations to host events tailored to help with education, job, and mental health.