Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Derrick Brooks encourages youth leaders at Tampa crime prevention conference

TAMPA — They know him from their old football video games, a powerful player to draft onto their teams.

But former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks stood in front of a group of students Thursday to issue a real-life challenge: Be a role model.

"A commitment must be made," he repeated throughout his speech.

Brooks joined local leaders and law enforcement officials in encouraging teens to take initiative in improving their communities. The panel of speakers kicked off the 27th National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community, which continues today at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel.

"I want you to hear different noises besides gunshots," Brooks said. "I want you to hear people clapping because you're walking into a room, and you're being honored."

Derrick Brooks Charities works with the state to offer youth and "black-on-black" crime prevention programs.

Tampa police Chief Jane Castor offered this statistic: Even as overall crime declines, 11 out of the city's 27 homicides last year resulted from black-on-black crime, she said.

It's an "epidemic," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. It's "fratricide" — brothers killing brothers.

"I'm tired of going to funerals," he said. "I'm tired of doing gun buy-backs."

The promise of change, the speakers agreed, lies with young people. Officials emphasized the importance of education, leadership, teamwork and giving back.

They also called on communities to support youths.

"If you can reach one child, you can change their lives," said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. "That could be our next president. Or our next attorney general."

Over two days of workshops led by law enforcement officials, adults and teens will engage in sessions covering trends, empowerment strategies and decision-making.

Middleton High senior Matthew Godwin, 18, said he hears over and over how "most black people won't make it."

But the conference — and Brooks in particular — inspired him: "I want to be the person to prove that you can be anything you want to be," Godwin said.

At the end of Thursday's welcome, Brooks took up each speaker's call to action. He pledged to reach out to children before they encountered the Department of Juvenile Justice. He promised to help second-time offenders emerging from the Department of Corrections.

And Brooks told the mayor he would find a cure to the epidemic.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at swang@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2443.

Derrick Brooks encourages youth leaders at Tampa crime prevention conference 05/17/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 17, 2012 9:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gov. Rick Scott could soon be the all-time king of line-item veto

    Blogs

    2016: $256,144,027

    2015: $461,387,164

    2014: $68,850,121

    2013: $367,950,394

    2012: $142,752,177

    2011: $615,347,550

    Only once has Scott used the line-item veto sparingly. That was in 2014, the year he ran for re-election, when he removed a paltry $69 million from the budget.

    Gov. Rick Scott waves a veto pen at The Villages in 2011.
  2. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon

    Blogs

    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

    Jose De Leon follows through in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on May 29, 2017.
  3. Resignation of communications director Dubke could signal more changes within White House staff

    National

    WASHINGTON — Mike Dubke has resigned as White House communications director, a senior administration official confirmed Tuesday, in the first of what could be a series of changes to President Trump's senior staff amid the growing Russia scandal.

    President Donald Trump speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 29, 2017, during a Memorial Day ceremony. [Associated Press]
  4. Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day

    National

    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

    Brittany Jacobs, left, watches as her 6-year-old son Christian Jacobs meets President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Arlington, Va. Jacobs father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, was killed in 2011. [Associated Press]
  5. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more

    Blogs

    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott