NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An adviser to former Nashville mayors Megan Barry and David Briley says Nashville's juvenile crime problem should be declared a public health crisis.
Ashford Hughes Sr., who worked on equity and inclusion issues for the two mayors, told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that there was discussion during both administrations about officially declaring a crisis, directing resources to begin to solve the complicated underlying issues that have hit portions of the African-American community.
"As a city for us to firmly address it, it needs to be considered a health crisis," Hughes said.
"What happens in North Nashville affects what happens in Madison. The problems that affect Madison also affect what happens in the southeast of Davidson County. So this is a crisis of magnitude that represents the entire county."
Hughes cautioned that an honest conversation about the issue will require the city to confront the institutional racism that has helped create the problems.
"You can't just say this community is bad, they just need to be better parents, this community is bad, they aren't doing enough," Hughes said.
"We have to move beyond blaming the victim and look at the systems."
Watch the full interview above.
Special Section: Broken
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