A Charleston City Council member said Monday she isn’t letting anger take over her community.
After the death of a Dunbar man on Interstate 77 last weekend, Councilmember Deanna McKinney told Charleston City Council Monday evening there had to be something more council could do to address issues in their communities.
During open comments at the end of the regular council meeting, McKinney said she and other community leaders are hosting a Halloween party at City Park from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, when she hoped more community leaders would take the initiative to engage more with people throughout the city.
“We are not addressing the issue in our communities,” McKinney said at the meeting. “I’m very heartbroken about that. There’s trauma. There’s anger. There’s a lot of pain in our city.”
McKinney expressed concerns about shootings in Charleston, referring to one fatal shooting on Oct. 19 in which Antwan Curnell, 28, of Dunbar, died after he was shot on Interstate 77 near the Westmoreland exit. McKinney said sometimes shootings aren’t even reported to authorities unless someone dies.
“There’s shootings just about every other night, especially on the West Side,” she said.
The Halloween party is in keeping with an annual event McKinney hosts in her neighborhood each April in memory of her son, Tymel McKinney, who was murdered while he sat on his family’s front porch eating pizza in 2014.
The City Park event will include candy for trick-or-treaters, as well as hot dogs, nachos and other refreshments, McKinney said Wednesday. There will be a DJ, and most significantly resources from local organizations, including the Charleston police and fire departments, to help connect people with the kind of help or action they need in their community, she said.
“A lot of time we collect data, but we don’t put the faces to these numbers,” McKinney said Wednesday. “When you put the faces to these numbers, people can see the needs in our community.”
She asked council members Monday to come to the City Park event not only to partake in giving out candy and enjoying music, but also to take a more active role in the greater Charleston community.
“I just pray that we all step ourselves outside of our comfort zones and think about what can we do to help make a change?” she said. “How can we, as city council members for people who voted for us and trusted us to make decisions about them not just financially but for their well-being and their children’s well-being, do a little more than what we’ve been doing?”
To McKinney’s speech Monday, Mayor Amy Goodwin said the city hosts events including Coffee with a Cop and engages with neighborhood watch groups. Goodwin said there were a lot of people in the city who were working hard and cared very deeply about the issue.
“We can always do more,” Goodwin said. “I think we are all in agreement that we can always do more, but I promise you that every second of every day it is on our minds. Every second of every single day we are doing everything we believe needs to be done.”
McKinney said she still is accepting offers for organizations and businesses to put up displays for the Halloween event.
For information, email McKinney at CouncilWoman McKinney@gmail.com.