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Sunrise Community Group holds meeting addressing drugs and violence in Donaldsonville

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BATON ROUGE - Tuesday the Sunrise Community Group hosted a meeting at Donaldsonville City Hall to address gun violence, poverty, education and drug use in the town. 

The "Stop the Violence" meeting had presentations from different perspectives including pastors, police officers and high school students.

Kurt Mitchell, the co-chair of group, is asking the community for help.

"One of the hardest things to say in the English language, but it's also one of the bravest things to say, is I need help. Asking for help doesn't mean that you're quitting. It actually means you're not quitting, you're not willing to quit, but I need help. In this situation with this issue, we need help," he said.

Poverty, crime and education were the main points of the night. Speakers from various backgrounds and professions shared their ideas.

"The things that have been happening the past few years when we start talking about murders, drug addictions and the problems that we have in the community, it's good for the community to come together to see how can we solve those issues," Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan said.

Some of the solutions discussed at the meeting include an early childhood learning center, a 24/7 church hotline and panel discussions in high schools about the effects of drugs and gun violence.

"We're treating it like an ambulance with sirens and lights on and everybody respects that ambulance, they prioritize it, they get out of the way because they know that ambulance is dealing with something very serious so that's how we look at these issues," Mitchell said.

Donaldsonville's poverty rate is four times the national average. Five separate shootings happened in the city of less than 7,000 people in the last year. People hope meetings like Tuesday's can raise awareness and solve problems.

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