* What: Turn it up: A call to action: Solutions to Drugs, Gangs & Violence
* When: 1 to 4 p.m. today
* Where: Eastdale Village Community United Methodist Church at 1403 Tunnel Blvd.
A coalition of local leaders is sending an SOS to all elected officials, pastors and residents, a call to be part of the solution to problems the city's young people face.
Too many children are dying. Too many get shot. Too many are uneducated. Too many are unemployed.
"We must unite to save our youth," local Nation of Islam leader Kevin Muhammad said this week.
We Are the Ones, a coalition of organizers, citizens and religious leaders, will host Turn It Up: A Call to Action: Solutions to Drugs, Gangs & Violence from 1 to 4 p.m. today at the Eastdale Village Community Church.
The Rev. Charlotte S. Williams, pastor of Eastdale Village Community Church, will host the discussion. Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad, the Southern regional representative of Louis Farrakhan, will be the main speaker.
It will be the first in a series of events planned to help young people.
"The love for our young children should encourage people to come," Williams said. "Whatever is going on with them, we want to help, and we want them to know that all hope is not lost."
Westside Baptist Church pastor the Rev. Tim Careathers; the Rev. Dwight Harrison of Breaking the Cycle; the Rev. Alan Jay Holman, pastor of Bethel AME Church; and Christian counselor Angie Wynn will be among a host of people offering solutions.
While city leaders continue to work on the Violence Reduction Initiative, We Are the Ones representatives said they are calling for a more grass-roots approach to help young people.
The Violence Reduction Initiative is a government plan, but the community will craft this plan, Muhammad said.
"We are coming from a parental view rather than a law enforcement view," he said.
Muhammad said he hopes the community will consider ways to employ youth. If people focus their dollars toward creating employment, they can have an impact.
Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6431.