Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin released a statement on Monday regarding several acts of violence against teenagers in Birmingham over the Labor day weekend.
“We as a city must wrap our arms around our children,” Woodfin said in the statement. “We must double down on conflict resolution efforts for our youth. If they won’t come to us, we must go to them. Relationships matter. We must all take responsibility for being the source of wisdom, guidance, restraint and compassion that our children need. Accountability is what will heal our city.”
16-year old William Edwards, a junior at Woodlawn High School, and captain of the school’s football team was shot and killed from outside his east Birmingham home on Saturday. According to AL.com, the Birmingham Police have no suspect information.
On Sunday night, seven teenagers were shot and injured outside Workplay, of one of Birmingham’s many music venues.
Lady Woo, a local radio host told WBRC that the scene outside the venue sounded like a “war zone,” and the she wasn’t shocked by the violence.
“In a perfect world, you would love to be able to party and enjoy life with young people and show them how you can have a good time, and not really be violent, and not have any issues. But once we got out here, it brought everything to the forefront of what we face now. We face a lot of division, no self control, no respect, nothing. It was just like a war zone,” Woo continued.
Read Woodfin’s full statement below:
This past weekend, Birmingham was stricken by violence against young people.
The death of William Edwards in North East Lake and the seven young people injured by violence at WorkPlay are a devastating blow to our community.
Our law enforcement officers have been dedicated in their response, but as a city we must realize that this goes deeper than arrests.
We as a city must wrap our arms around our children.
We must double down on conflict resolution efforts for our youth. If they won’t come to us, we must go to them. Relationships matter.
We must all take responsibility for being the source of wisdom, guidance, restraint and compassion that our children need. Accountability is what will heal our city.
Lives were changed this past weekend, and those lives are too valuable – too precious – to be labeled as statistics.
No longer can we grieve and then go about our days – not when the lives of our neighbors have been changed forever. Know that your mayor and law enforcement are working fervently for a safer Birmingham, but we cannot do it alone. I ask that you – parents, family members, mentors, community leaders and friends – connect with the young people in your lives.
Listen to them. Help them. Let them know that their life matters.
Only then can healing begin.