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Pastors call for action on gun violence following six weekend shootings

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Robert LeCount, founder of the organization Quench the Violence, speaks with Baptist pastors on Monday, October 25.

A group of Baptist pastors are calling for urgency in curbing gun violence, following police reports of six shootings in Jacksonville over the weekend.

“All of us are being affected in our neighborhoods and our homes,” said Darien Bolden, president of Baptist Ministers Conference of Duval and Adjacent Counties, on Monday. “This is an urgency in our city that needs to be taken care of and needs attention given to it. Enough is enough.”

Bolden said part of the solution lies in investing more in schools, as well as programs for students.

“We need park directors, we need these Boys and Girls Clubs, we need after school programs,” Bolden said. “Something for our kids to do.”

Another pastor, Robert LeCount, who lost a son to gun violence, has been involved in launching a job training program that got a $225,000 grant from the city of Jacksonville. The effort is called ReWorks Jax and will provide adults aged 18 - 35 job training and career coaching.

LeCount said the first cohort will start in November, and called the program a “method of reaching more individuals who are struggling to achieve financial stability and prevent criminal activities.”

The pastors’ faith-based organization is planning a summit within the next two weeks for city and community leaders to discuss ways to stop gun violence.