Miami Community Leaders to Gather to Formulate a Strategic Plan to Address Gun Violence

04/22/2013 11:36 am ET | Updated Jun 22, 2013

The life of Aaron Willis was forever changed on the night of December 19, 2012. The ninth grader at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, Florida was shot while riding his bike in the Wynwood section of the city when shots rang out. One of the bullets struck Willis and left him paralyzed from the waste down. Willis is one of a number of young victims of gun violence in Miami throughout the course of this school year. The rampant epidemic of gun violence with school-age victims has been tragically felt from Miami to Chicago to Newtown and beyond.

Some states have responded with stricter gun control legislation and there has been the strongest push for federal gun control measures in recent years. While policymakers battle it out in Washington D.C. and in state capitals across the country; it is up to the individual communities who have had to bear the brunt of the carnage to formulate solutions for themselves.

The South Florida Chapter of the National Action Network led by Bishop Victor T. Curry along with Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Director of Productivity and Improvement Ronda Vangates will assemble area teachers, parents, union leaders, activists, and various community organizations at Miami Jackson Senior High School on April 22 at 7:00pm to discuss and develop a strategic plan to stem the violence. Miami Jackson Senior High School is the school that 16-year old Bryan Herrera attended before he was shot and killed on December 22 of last year. Herrera, a straight-A student, was shot in broad daylight while riding his bike to a friend's house to do homework just blocks away from the school.

Curry, Carvalho, and Vangates are expected to lay out the framework for the strategic plan that will be discussed in Monday's meetings on May 10 at a Higher Education Awareness, Dropout Prevention, and Health Initiative hosted by Education for a Better America where students from twenty-one different schools in Miami-Dade County will be bused onto the campus of Florida International University on May 10. The event will feature workshops on college admissions and financial aid, health and wellness, financial literacy, and remarks from a lineup of national leaders that includes National Action Network President Reverend Al Sharpton, National Council of LaRaza Board Chairman Jorge Plasencia, and Noticiero Telemundo Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart.