KNOXVILLE (WATE) – An East Knoxville business owner says she has solutions to the violence and gang issues in Knoxville.
GiGi Sanders attended Wednesday night’s Stop the Violence town hall meeting. She says it goes beyond focusing on children.
“I’ve heard a lot people say that children are our future. I disagree,” said Sanders. “We are their future because if we don’t do what’s right, if we don’t carry ourselves in the right way and do the right thing as best we can, they’re going to mimic what they see us do.”
More online: Stop the Violence: A Community Conversation
Sanders is the owner of Peace by Piece snack shop on Washington Avenue in East Knoxville. She said she didn’t get a chance to speak at the town hall meeting but she felt there were more tangents and not enough solutions.
“I think that parents regardless of what they’re doing, need to realize that their kids’ future is in their hands,” said Sanders. “It’s really up to us. It’s not up to the community center to do it. We just need to be responsible ourselves.”
Sanders said Edward Chayehoi, 12, really caught her attention.
“That kid must have had a mentor. There has to be someone that he listens to that feeds him the fuel for the fire,” said Sanders.
Sanders says not only is she putting her best foot forward – she’s challenging all adults to do the same.
“I want to be a positive for them. If there is something they need to talk about, I want to listen,” said Sanders. “I want to be able help with whatever is troubling them.”
“Pointing fingers and trying depict what really is wrong is not really how it should be done,” said Sanders. “We’re going to have to calm down, get a focus and stay on it.”