SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– The first in a series of community forums was held Tuesday night to discuss how to reduce gun violence in the city of Syracuse just over a week after an 11-year-old was shot and killed on the Southside.

“Take Back Oakwood” brought together nearly 80 neighbors at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church to engage in a workshop with six panelists. Topics ranged from the need for parents to take accountability for their kids, to community policing. The goal of the forum was to come up with tangible action steps to try and create real change.

“People are at a point now of saying we have to, we must come together and work together. Our thoughts, our resources, our experiences to put together a plan that is going to change our community one block, one family, one neighborhood at a time.”

Bishop Bernard H. Alex, Forum panelist and pastor at Victory Temple Fellowship Church

Bishop Alex added the change will not happen overnight but that he was happy to see such a large turnout at the forum Tuesday night.

16-year-old Lawrence Simmons was a youth panelist who shared his experiences growing up in Syracuse and watching a lot of his peers go down the wrong path. He said it’s important to surround yourself with good people who love you and have your best interest at heart.

The community forum will continue on February 28 at the Southwest Community Center.