READING, Pa. – Residents of Reading are fed up. After a violent start to the year, they said they want to see change before more lives are lost.
Some parents gathered Wednesday night for a meeting that focused on gun violence.
"We've had several tragedies that have occurred, and it's getting to a point where we have to do something," said Jermell Mitchell, a city resident.
About two dozen people gathered in the pews at Hope Lutheran Church to listen to those taking charge.
"It really starts with you, and then it will trickle down as a domino effect," said Seleda Simmons, a community advocate.
A few miles away from the church, a memorial continued to grow at the scene of the city's latest homicide in the Oakbrook neighborhood.
It happened last Friday night, when a 14-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed a 16-year-old girl.
"It's a loss all the way around," said Stephan Fains, a coordinator for the Berks Community Action Program. "I think that's where we gotta start realizing that this senseless stuff has to stop happening for not just these kids but for these parents, too. Parents are losing. Kids are losing. Community's losing."
"It's a little girl and it's another little boy," Simmons said, "and they both lost their lives."
Simmons, a mother herself, organized the meeting in an attempt to help bring the community together, however, she wants to see more action from Mayor Eddie Moran, who didn't attend the meeting.
"The fact that he's not here, I'm not really upset about, because you don't have to be here to have a voice," she said. "The fact that he hasn't addressed his city who trusted him to be in a position to speak for us is what I'm more disturbed about."
Moran told 69 News before the meeting that the city will take proactive measures to establish relationships in the school district and with anti-violence groups.
Most said they agree it's a complex issue that will take time and support from more than those who came out to take action.
"It takes a village," Fains said. "It takes everybody to show these kids we all care and so that we know that they're all available to them, not just talking down on them, but we're here to listen to them as well."