By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: Apr. 30, 2018 | 2:25 p.m.
SUSSEX – On Thursday, May 3, at 5:30 the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office and the Sussex Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will host a FREE Community Safety Forum. Education ambassador, International Speaker, Corporate trainer and former gang member Andre Norman will discuss “Finding a Solution” at the Sussex Central High School auditorium, and all community citizens from youth to community leaders are urged to take advantage of this rare, free opportunity.
“When Mr. Norman was here recently, he had great reviews from the headmaster and the student body at Tidewater Academy,” said Sheriff Ernest Giles. “Mrs. Joyner said his speech put a huge impression on the student body – changed their mindset.”
“He always opens up the floor to questions or concerns citizens have,” Giles explained. “That’s how he gets a feel of his crowd. He’s educated, and through life experience he lets kids know it’s never too late. This man was sentenced to 100 years, and served 14 years, earned his parole and from that point he never looked back. He’s lectured at places like Harvard University, been speaker in numerous locations across the United States and foreign countries. He’s a former gang member. And that’s one reason why this is important, because the infiltration we’re having now is from youth wanting to become gang members. We need to emphasize this is not way to go. The kids – all of us – need to hear about experiences OUTSIDE the county to encourage and empower the youth to desire to make a change – to give life a new sense and purpose and drive.”
Andre Norman, seen here delivering a TED talk titled ‘How to fix the American Prison system,’ will be visiting Sussex County as part of a free Community Safety Forum being hosted on May 3. (TEDx Talks/YouTube)
Giles said that his department has seen a small increase in crime in Sussex County, and added, “I know we have a lot of infiltration of people moving from the cities to rural areas, and we need to sit down and come up with a plan. So with the assistance of Sheriff Crawford in Petersburg, our mission is simple: Make a change. Show our young people that there is a life outside of violence, dealing drugs, and getting over on the system. Because it’s a growing concern with the Sheriff’s office, the Commonwealth Attorney, and the community at large. We’ve seen a shift lately to more violent crimes. Street crimes are more violent, domestic incidents are more violent, and there are a lot of crimes with weapons here we never have had here before. It’s not just Sussex County. It’s all around. But we would love to help the youth of Sussex County see there IS a life outside of violence, dealing drugs, and getting over on the system. We often speak, “Sussex doesn’t have anything to offer kids – recreation, facilities, decent summer jobs. But when I was growing up I stayed busy doing SOMETHING – doing LEGAL things to make my own money – mowing grass, washing cars. For some reason there’s a different generation here.”
“We are so happy to be able to offer this not only for our youth, but our adults just need to hear his motivational speech,” Giles continued. “We want to see the leaders of Sussex County, business owners, the community at large. We’re targeting the younger crowd to understand the dynamics of the real world, but we NEED community leaders there as well, to get a grip on the reality of what we’re facing in Sussex County. And we need to get the youth, especially, to understand that we’re just a phone call away.”
“I really think that this will enlighten our community,” he added. “To let everyone know our mission and goal – to bring our community together as one – and help everyone understand we have to work together to stay safe. All it takes it to just pick up the phone. I tell people all the time, this is your community, and these are your relatives and we cannot turn a blind eye to crime. Why let things like this go on in Sussex county? What’s going on – and developing – now affects our community both now and in the future. Well, we’ve all heard it takes a village to raise a child. We have to get back to those standards. We all have to understand it takes ALL of us to raise these children. We can’t let them fail or give up in life. We have to encourage and mold and guide them.”
The Community Safety Forum with Andre Norman at Sussex Central High School will begin at 5:30 on May 3 and is free to the public. For further information, call Sheriff Ernest Giles at 434-246-5361 OR Mrs. Lyndia Ramsey at 434-246-1020.