NewsLocal News


Baltimore-based youth advocate says change is needed as violence rises in the city

Posted at 6:25 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 18:25:36-05

BALTIMORE — Shootings have been nonstop in Baltimore where since Friday there have been at least 21 people shot across the city.

The longest time span between shootings over the weekend was about 8 hours while the shortest was about 20 minutes.

Two of the shooting victims in Baltimore were teens...catching the attention of a Baltimore-based youth advocate who says something has to change and he’s starting that change with young people.

"I came up here and I was walking through the neighborhood and I seen all of this blood on the ground and I seen the yellow tape on the pole and thought something must have happened here you know,” said Tyrone Bennett.

It's a far too familiar sight Bennett has spent his entire life in Baltimore looking at.

What he described seeing over the weekend was one of multiple shooting scenes across the city that, all combined, tallied 21 victims including two teens.

"It's mostly the young kids, you know the ones that like the new generation...the kids around about 20. They’re the ones doing a lot of shooting right now. It ain’t the older people. It's the young kids,” said Bennett.

He says he believes youth need more access to outlets that shelter them from violence and heal those impacted by it.

"Their mental health to be perfectly honest is compromised to a large degree," said Darren Rogers.

“All we can really do is be a solution to the problem and work with the young people that we have to ensure that they're not engaged in violent activity and they understand the consequences of engaging in activity and learning from the work we do around conflict resolution and anger management,” Rogers said.

Rogers grew up walking past those same crime scenes hopeful the cycle has an end in sight.

His organization I am MENtality serves about 120 young men in the city.

He aims to give students access to mental health services, counseling, and leadership skills.

"One of the challenges a lot of young men face is their ability to communicate so therapy is a great place to develop your communication skills for you to be able to express how you feel in an environment where a person wont judge you for how you feel,” he said.

The shootings in the headlines especially facing young people he says forces him to take a look in the mirror.

“Is the work that I’m doing in the services that I’m providing strong enough to combat the challenges that we see in our community” he questioned.

But they point out persistent problems the community is growing desperate to get addressed.

"These are sad experiences but this is nothing new and I think that we need to as a city as a state as a whole we really need to put our minds together and collaborate towards becoming better,” said rogers.

For more information on I Am MENtality visit