Workplace shooting hits close to home

This editorial represents the views of the young people in The kNOw and is the result of an editorial discussion on the topic.

On Nov. 6, Lawrence Jones shot and killed two co-workers, and then himself, at a meat processing plant here in Fresno. The shooting at the plant, Apple Valley Farms, is just the latest in a rash of gun violence in our city, and it hits close to home.

Just two weekends ago, five gang-related shootings took place in a 12-hour period in our city.

With last week’s shooting and the deaths of three people, Fresno’s gun violence seems to be worsening.

So many of our loved ones work in meat plants just like Apple Valley, and some even worked at the plant itself and knew the shooter. It shocked us and made us fear what it would be like to experience this kind of tragedy first-hand.

A few things are clear:

People who are struggling need support so they don’t resort to hurting others
We think the wave of gun violence is related to our economy and the struggles hard times bring. Many people have extreme amounts of stress in their lives, or come from at-risk backgrounds, like those involved in gangs or re-entering life after prison. The support that they need should be more available, but often is not as programs are cut.

Workplace security should be taken seriously
We know this first hand: Unemployed people seeking entry-level jobs are most often placed in facilities just like Apple Valley. Many of our loved ones are in these positions. As a common job, these places need extra security, because a lot of people go in through there – especially those people who may need more support, such as people rebuilding a life after prison, like Jones.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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