PALMETTO -- It was a passionate group that met Thursday night in Palmetto.
About 70 turned up at the Palmetto Youth Center to call for change in their community, which has recently experienced a mass shooting that killed two and wounded 22 others.
It’s a community where, for years, a grocery store owner allowed a vicious criminal element on his property to degrade the neighborhood around it.
Some spoke of the sadness of losing young people to crime. Some railed at police hiring practices, saying more black officers would help them reclaim their community.
But the overall theme that grew out of the meeting, organized by county Commissioner Michael Gallen, was: We have to work together.
“It’s difficult when you see these young, intelligent black kids killing each other,” said Elston Brown, representing the Apollo Lake Park Neighborhood Association. He said many of the victims are former students from his years as a teacher.