Peacing Together to discuss solutions to youth violence at On the Table


Courtesy of On the Table 2018

CCJ hosted On the Table in 2018 at the Buck Melton Center.

It has been a little more than a month since the launch of Peacing Together, a reporting project about solutions to youth violence that includes the Center for Collaborative Journalism, The TelegraphGeorgia Public Broadcasting Macon and 13WMAZ .

We’ve had stories about youth who shared their experiences living with violence, community members and family members who have suffered as a result of youth violence and those who are offering solutions to address the issue.

As a part of the continuing conversation, Peacing Together partners will host four tables at the second On the Table gathering on Wednesday, October 30.

The Community Foundation of Central Georgia and the Knight Foundation are sponsoring On the Table. The event is an opportunity for community members to gather and discuss issues they care about over a meal. Last year, nearly 5,000 people gathered at more than 600 tables at On The Table.

Peacing Together partners will host tables at:

  • Mercer Village, at 8 a.m.
  • Shurling Library, at 1 p.m.
  • Lanford Library, at 1 p.m.
  • Center for Collaborative Journalism, at 6:30 pm

People interested in joining the discussion may get additional information and sign up at the On the Table website.

“We’re doing On the Table because it is a way to hear directly from people in the community about their concerns,” said Debbie Blankenship, director, Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

CCJ and its partners hosted tables at last year’s inaugural event. The idea for this year’s collaborative reporting project is a result of what came from the 2018 event.

“There was a follow-up survey of participants and the overwhelming thing that adults and kids listed as a pressing issue for the community was violence, crime and public safety,” Blankenship said.

So when CCJ began discussing ideas for a project, the partners agreed to report on youth violence and solutions to the violence.

“We needed to give the community a way to help and a reason to care,” said Blankenship.

In reporting so far, we have heard from community members who want to help.

The Telegraph recently attended the Macon-Peace: Victory over Violence, held at the Buck Melton Community Center. Community members gathered to discuss the causes, effects and solutions to youth violence. Mother of four, Ebony Bundrige said, “I feel like people need to know where to go, how to get information, why not to do it, why not to be violent.”

CCJ engagement reporter, Sonya Green, talked to youth who said having a person who cares can make all the difference in a kid’s life.

In a joint reporting effort, 13 WMAZ reporter, Chelsea Beimfohr, reported on when and why teens are committing violence. The reporters spoke with Quentin Johnson, a man who grew up in the Unionville area who is teaching children to play the piano and the drums, hoping to show them that ‘there’s more to life’ than walking the streets.

If you can’t join Peacing Together on October 30 at one of the four tables, you can still share your thoughts through this survey.