Candid conversation about youth violence in South Bend

Jeff Sanford, a man who is running to be St. Joseph County's next prosecutor held a press conference Tuesday to lay out his plan of action against gang violence. We wanted to know what members of the community say is the key to combating violence.

Kintae Lark owns Inspirational Barber Salon.

"Many of the young African American men that come in this barbershop have not been raised with a father, they've been raised by their mom. I applaud women but I'm going to tell you this, as a black man, growing up, he really needs to be sharpened by a black man or another man that can speak into his life," said Lark.

Lark says when he was younger, sometimes life was a struggle, but today he is an entrepreneur. He uses his barbershop as a platform to help other young men steer clear of trouble.

"A lot of times a lot of our young men are lacking identity, they don't know who to become or where to go for direction. So when they can't fill that void they go and find it other places and if it's with the dope man, it's with the dope man," said Lark.

Lark uses his clippers for more than just cutting hair.

"I use these clippers as a tool. There's a lot of young people who run away from school or home for that matter, they're not quick to go to family sessions or the courthouse but they are quick to come to my barbershop and sit in my chair," said Lark.

Lark says he uses that time wisely, encouraging them to go to college, get married, and start a family.

"When they sit in this chair it's an opportunity for us to begin to speak words of life and to plant seeds, even if the young guys lack direction," said Lark.

Lark says the key is meeting kids on their level.

"We tell them to put down the guns but what do they have to pick up? We tell them not to sell drugs but what do they sell?" said Lark.

Everyone in the shop agreed, it is important for the younger generation to see older black men thriving in the community.
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