Ophelia Averitt, president of the Akron branch of the NAACP, talks to Jasen about the protests in Ferguson Mo., and how Akron's citizens relationship with law enforcement differs.
The past week's events near St. Louis, a police involved shooting and nights of protests, have prompted a number of events around the country.
The Akron NAACP is holding a "peace rally" Saturday afternoon on Akron's West Side.
Akron NAACP president Ophelia Averitt says that one thing that's made a difference in Akron...is police officers spending time in the community, not just when it's time to make an arrest.
"If we can get that going on, and keep that going on, especially with our block clubs," Averitt tells AkronNewsNow.com, "we can just come together and this will never happened, what happened in St. Louis."
Averitt credits Akron police auditor Phillip Young for helping to keep a dialogue open, and says such moves would benefit departments like those in Ferguson, Missouri.
The rally starts at 4 PM at Kerr Park, off of Copley Road and Frederick Boulevard in West Akron.
Rallies on behalf of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin have taken place in cities across America, including in Cleveland late last week.
A rally has been scheduled for Akron this week.
The NAACP's Akron chapter and other community groups area are organizing the event Tuesday night at 5:30 at Hawkins Plaza in Akron.
NAACP Akron chapter president Ophelia Averitt says that they expect a decent turnout, particularly from area churches.
"The pastors and all have promised me that they would have some parishoners there, some of their members, friends and all of that," Averitt tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and I asked them to also come themselves if they could."
Averitt says that in a brief time between discussions with AkronNewsNow over this weekend, 25 people already confirmed their attendence.
Averitt says locals have been sending support to those in Florida via messages and calls, but says she thinks it's time for those in Akron to show support in the Martin case by getting together in person.
The Akron NAACP chapter president says it's time for people to get involved.
"We must do something. We have to," Averitt tells AkronNewsNow.com. "This is something in which the world has looked at, and we just need to be aware that it could never happen in our area, should never happen.
Averitt says young people should take home a message from the rally.
"I'm hoping that we will take this message home to the children," Averitt says, "take this message wherever they go and wherever they see the need to step in and help others if you can. Don't wait until it happens to you."
Averitt says crowds will gather Tuesday night in the parking lot near Henry's Acme in the Hawkins Plaza.
Elected and community leaders say they'll spend the new year working on ways to reduce the amount of violence that plagued the city last year.
Akron NAACP President Ophelia Averitt, who is also a national NAACP board member, says a key component involves neighbors working together to form new neighborhood block clubs or strengthen existing ones.
"Block clubs know what is going on in their communities," says Averitt.
The biggest hurdle: Getting people to commit is never easy. Averitt says people will be more willing now more than before because they're fed up that people are getting shot in the streets.
Akron City Council President Marco Sommerville also mentions block club establishment as he listed the problem as a top priority for the council this year.
Sommerville says starting a dialog is only the beginning.
"We have to do more than that," said Sommerville. "If we don't include people who have been left out, then we're going to see more and more of this type of activity."
Sommerville says finding ways to keep kids in school and young adults in college or trade school would help significantly.