September 14, 2013
Updated Sep 14, 2013 at 9:26 PM CST
PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria community leaders gathered today to discuss genocide in the African American community.
The "New Millennium Institute" hosted a panel this morning at the Peoria Public Library to discuss the issue.
It started with a video about so-called "black on black" crimes, followed by a discussion on whether African Americans are becoming complacent in curbing violence.
Organizers say now is the time to discuss whether African American males are committing genocide against themselves.
Controversial cases were brought up such as Trayvon Martin's killing. The panelists, including political, religious, and academic leaders, think change could start at home.
"We realize we have our own issues right here in town," said Denise Moore, Peoria City Council, 1st District. "And if we can be so upset and outraged with Trayvon Martin, we can turn that inward, and try to address those same concerns in the city of Peoria."
"The way we hear and the way we think is the way we are shaped," said Chris McAfee of the New Millennium Institute. "So what happens is that we have to look at these young people; our belief system is what shapes us. And that belief system is going to have to change."
New Millennium Institute leaders say their mission is to influence young African American men to reach their fullest potential.