Heal from within, blacks told

Staff WriterJuly 19, 2008 

— Elaine Bushfan, Durham's chief District Court judge, urged the city's black community to take responsibility for problems at a Friday forum focused on youth violence.

The forum, part of a "Community Take Back" tour by Brian Dawson, a radio personality at WQOK K97.5, brought together public officials, community leaders and entertainment personalities on a panel at the John Avery Boys & Girls Club.

"The reality of it is, the black middle class has forgotten from where they have come," Bushfan said to applause from the audience of about 100 people. "Everybody in here has been touched by violence in our communities."

Lawyer James "Butch" Williams said adolescents need self-respect, the desire to do the right thing and positive influences.

Local hip-hop personality Christopher "Play" Martin warned that many young people are just "a decision away from destruction."

"It took years to get to this problem, and it's going to have to come close to some years to reverse it," he said.

Reversing it, says clinical psychologist Jennifer L. Rounds-Bryant, takes looking inward first.

"The answer to our problems lies with each of us as individuals," said Rounds-Bryant. "Without change, it will continue to be like this. We'll continue to have this conversation, but things won't change."

stan.chambers@newsobserver.com or (919) 956-2426

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