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Operation Save Our Sons Kicks Off In Jacksonville

Cyd Hoskinson

Leaders of a national initiative aimed at keeping young black males from getting themselves arrested or killed during confrontations with authority announced Tuesday that it will be headquartered here in Jacksonville.

It's called Operation Save Our Sons.

Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
WJCT intern Arnae Holcomb interviews 12 year old Jaylen Burroghs.

"This city is about to make a statement that we can turn around something that some, and many, are calling an epidemic," says John Guns, Senior Pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. "We're losing our sons. But, not anymore. We're fighting for them."

Guns is the head of Save Our Sons. He says organizers want to make sure that what happened to Trayvon Martin doesn't happen to any more young men.

"We're going to empower our sons to make better decisions. We're going to challenge them that, when they are confronted, as Trayvon was confronted, that there's a way to manage even a tense moment like that. We're going to provide our young men with the skill-set to succeed in a very challenging world."

17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot to death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman who says he thought the teenager was up to no good. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder. He's currently on trial in Sanford, Florida.

According to John Guns, Operation Save Our Sons will partner with churches, non-profit groups and the Duval County school system to give at-risk boys and young men tools and strategies to help them stay calm in tense situations.

More than a dozen cities, he says, have expressed an interest in setting up chapters of their own.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.