NAACP pushes to end Providence violence

Aleena Johnson walks with crutches and her foot is bandaged after she was shot last week at the Chad Brown housing complex.

She tells NBC 10 she was just visiting friends there and is sick of the violence.

"I'm getting ready to be a grandmother," Johnson said. "I have a son. I want to be around, like I don't want to be a victim in my own city."

Victims like Johnson mean the NAACP is pushing for a new solution to end the violence. While crime rates in the city have gone down, Providence NAACP president Jim Vincent said victims may not see it that way.

"It rings hollow because they're burying their loved ones," Vincent said at a press conference in downtown Providence on Monday.

"Do something. There's kids dying, I mean, I don't even understand what the whole conversation's about," Ray Watson, the executive director of the Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association, said.

The NAACP and other neighborhood organizations are calling on the city and state to help out. They are asking Mayor Angel Taveras to evaluate the city's recreation department in terms of what it can offer young people to make them productive citizens. They also ask Governor Lincoln Chafee to send workforce development boards into neighborhoods where unemployment is persistent.

Among the other tenets of the NAACP's plan are a "Call for Action" planning summit with local leaders to discuss strategies for dealing with violence, creating community liaisons to work with Providence Police and asking the Rhode Island Attorney General to direct 15 percent of the Google settlement money to creating programs to help children and ex-offenders.

Johnson said she believes most violence stems from rivalries, but it can have unintended victims, like her.

"It doesn't affect just them, it affects the whole family, it affects the whole community," Johnson said.

Community leaders say they hope new strategies and partnerships can help calm the violence.