WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Sonya Patrick, a New Hanover County representative of the NC Black Leadership Caucus, said she has been in contact with gang members in the Port City over the past few weeks.
Patrick said she has spoken with them on the phone, but not in-person. She thinks the gang members are dealing with the same everyday struggles that many people go through, but they are handling the situations the wrong way.
"We would like to plead to all of them that we all share the same frustrations with the system as far as jobs," said Patrick. "We want them to use more positive methods toward dealing with those situations."
The representative said that gang members have told her they aren't satisfied with the outreach work being done by some community organizations like, "Boots on the Ground."
Patrick noted that while the organization has positive intentions, gang members think that it focuses too much on adults and not enough on the youths within the community.
"I don't want it to sound like we're against "Boots on the Ground"," elaborated Patrick. "There are pastors that do care about these young people. There are mothers that care. A lot of people know who they are right now in neighborhoods."
In order to continue fostering the relationship, Patrick hopes to maintain confidentiality with those she has spoken with.
"That's very important or else we can't connect to them," explained Patrick. "All we can do is a public plea. Trust is something very important."
She said she's optimistic about the future of gang activity in the area and hopes that building conversation can eventually lead to a positive outcome.
"We want them to make better decisions and we want them to know that people do care about them," said Patrick.
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