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Taft shooting aftermath: Muskogee NAACP addresses gun violence, mental health after shootings |

In a group the place everybody is aware of everybody, to lose one among your personal can really feel like shedding a part of your self.

And when a number of others have been injured within the heart of the group, the ache lingers lengthy after the incident.

That’s how a large majority of Taft community members really feel after Sherika Bowler was killed and eight others have been injured in a capturing on the Memorial Day weekend competition within the city heart, and two weeks after the capturing, a neighborhood civil rights group is doing what it may possibly to choose up the items.

“Even the smallest gestures in occasions like these assist folks to know that you simply care,” mentioned the Rev. Rodger Cutler, president of the Muskogee department of the NAACP, who’s initiating applications inside Muskogee County to make its communities safer. “We wish to ensure that (Taft) isn’t misplaced within the shuffle.”

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The NAACP will convey a spotlight to gun violence and psychological well being — the previous with a gun buy-back program partnering with native legislation enforcement and group leaders and the latter with an upcoming psychological well being discussion board with the Muskogee County Well being Division.

“Undertaking Rescue Muskogee County,” the gun buy-back program, is a long-term initiative partnering with the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Workplace and the Muskogee Police Division that may hopefully make Muskogee County communities safer, mentioned Cutler, who hopes it may possibly forestall even one life from being taken by gun violence.

“If we get even one gun off the road, that would presumably save a life,” he mentioned. “We consider what Dr. (Martin Luther) King mentioned: It’s at all times the suitable time to do the suitable factor. This is among the best alternatives we can provide (Muskogee County residents) to do the suitable factor.”

Undertaking Rescue Muskogee County, which continues to be within the early improvement phases, will likely be fully voluntary and nameless, Cutler mentioned, and organizers hope to boost sufficient funds to pay $100 for each handgun and $250 for each “assault rifle.”

The second initiative, the psychological well being discussion board, is deliberate for Thursday and can convey space behavioral well being professionals to the Martin Luther King Middle, 300 W. Martin Luther King St. in Muskogee, to debate trauma in kids after main incidents and the stigma round psychological well being in Black communities.

Cutler mentioned the organizers had been planning the discussion board for some time already within the wake of nationwide tragedies however that the Taft capturing hastened the necessity for it.

“Our principal focus was on the stigma of psychological well being, notably within the Black group,” Cutler mentioned. “We’re taught that it’s simply part of life, however actually it’s one thing we have to tackle and concentrate on.”

After the Taft capturing, the place many kids noticed bullets rain down on their households and even different kids, Cutler mentioned it was crucial to handle trauma signs in kids.

“Kids have been traumatized as a result of bullets went off in Taft,” Cutler mentioned. “We would like our kids to really feel protected and safe in order that they will nonetheless exit and have enjoyable and take part in life and never be afraid to dwell in their very own group.”

Taking inspiration once more from King, Cutler mentioned the Muskogee NAACP is doing what it may possibly to ensure Taft residents and the capturing victims know they matter to somebody.

“Dr. King mentioned it greatest when he mentioned, ‘Our lives start to finish after we are silent about what issues,’” Cutler mentioned. “Our youngsters matter. Taft issues. We are able to’t wait; we now have do cope with these items now as a result of folks’s lives are being affected now.”

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