“The Problem is Not the Park”: Columbus Woman Wants to See Change in the Community

Local News

(Jazmine Harris)

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Columbus City Council has adopted a new city ordinance reducing hours of operation and closing Carver Park on the weekends. The new regulation went into effect on Sept. 3 and will last for 30 days. 

 Jazmine Harris, the sister of Andrea Ellis, a victim of the most recent shooting at Carver Park, shared how the incident affected her. “Gun-violence has affected my family and me in many ways,” said Harris. “We’ve lost a lot of loved ones.”

Harris is not the first one to lose a loved one at Carver Park this year. Cory Jones was shot to death in the park in February.

“It is just sad because there are so many families like mine, that are stuck in a place where you wanna see justice but also you’re grieving as well,” said Harris.  “So, when I made a Facebook post about the tragic and sudden passing of my sister Andrea Ellis, it was a cry for understanding on how can we stop the gun violence because it is really affecting our communities.” 

Now that the ordinance is in effect, Harris expressed her frustrations with the new guidelines.

“Honestly and truly, I don’t think that it is enough because closing the park and reducing hours, is going to cause it to go somewhere else,” said Harris. “It makes no sense to take something away from everyone because you can’t control the problem.”

Harris feels that the community and the local government are not aware of the actual problem.

“The problem is not the park,” said Harris. “The problem is the people who are not caring about the other people around them coming to the park.”

Although Harris feels that the new ordinance is not solving the problem, she highlighted what city officials could do to help combat gun violence. 

“If they become more transparent with these kids and get back into these communities like they were when I was growing up, it wouldn’t be a problem, there wouldn’t be so much heartache, and there wouldn’t be so many families crying.”

Moreover, she expressed how there isn’t any cohesiveness among the community. The community, according to Harris, plays a crucial role in curbing gun violence within Columbus itself.

 “Our community needs to get back to that village mentality and stop being so offended by everything,” said Harris. “That’s how we try to start fixing the problem because I feel like if we can reach one, we can reach one.”

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