ORLANDO, Fla. – People who have seen gun violence firsthand spoke to members of a new task force in Orlando on Wednesday.
The Orange County Citizens Safety Task Force was made with the goal of reducing crime after a string of shootings in the fall of 2020.
Members of the task force were appointed by Orange County leaders
Several youth mentoring groups attended the meeting.
On Tuesday, the task force agreed to allocate $2 million to be spent on initiatives decided by the committee.
Leaders of the youth mentoring groups said their organizations should be included in funding because they are already working with teenagers in the community.
“I know for a fact that the opportunity I got, kept me out of prison,” Lena Taylor said.
Taylor said at the age of 17 she was the first girl from Orlando to join the USA Boxing Team.
She said youth programs in the area helped her make the team.
The sister of a shooting victim from July told the task force it took 37 days for her brother to be released from the hospital.
Another woman described her house being hit by dozens of bullets, adding law enforcement told her that it was a case of mistaken identity.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demmings echoed members of the community when he said it’s encouraging to see young people take part in the process.
“The absolute solution to this is to harness the energy from the young people,” Demings said.
The task force said its next step is to go over the concerns and possible solutions presented by members of the community on Wednesday, before finalizing how to best spend the funds.