Are there gangs in Marion County? This past Monday, Jan. 23, the Criminal Justice Club hosted Mega Monday and discussed and investigated this issue.
Every week, a club around campus is allowed to propose and conduct a Mega Monday. Everyone is welcomed to join any Monday meetings beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Building 8 Room 110. Professors, such as Thomas Ziesemer, the professor over the Criminology classes and faculty advisor of the Criminal Justice Club, give extra credit for attendance.
Shelby Godfree, lead presenter and vice president of the Criminal Justice Club, took time to describe one of the most volatile gangs in Miami, the Zoe Pound Gang. The Zoe Pound Gang are primarily Haitian based.
The Haitian immigrants who originally founded Zoe Pound was to escape political and economic injustices. Godfree points out that, “…gangs form for protection.” Ultimately, the Haitian immigrants came to this country in poverty and was treated unfairly. Thus, began the gang which plaques the society with destruction, violence and disorder.
The first half of the meeting was broken down with Godfree’s presentation of the Zoe Pound Gang, then to an open, and at times passionate debate from the audience.
One of the issues heavily debated was the discussion on how to prevent crime. One of the main things to do is educate people on this matter. Also, it is about funding, or as the congregation collectively agreed on, the lack of funding for gang preventive measures.
Traci Dittmer, a member from the audience and a student majoring in nursing at CF, agreed and believed that to prevent gangs is to educate.
“Society is losing its simplicity…money has become more complex and more important,” Dittmer said to the congregation.
Gerald McDonald, the co- presenter and president of the Criminal Justice Club, agrees that people should be educated and taught about the issues of society.
Ziesemer was astonished on how the Ocala Police Department (OPD) answered his questions about gang related issues in Marion County. According to the Department, there is no gang in Marion County and gangs are not a prevalent issue.
OPD only has one staff member to deal with and cover gangs in the Ocala area. McDonald stresses this by repeating, adamantly, “… just one, only one person in the whole Department… Deputy Bloom.”
Godfree and McDonald asked the attendees whether they noticed gang activity in Marion County or if they thought there were any gangs. The majority of the room, which contained about 50 people, believed that there were gangs in the county.
Conclusively, this Mega Monday was a success. A turn out with about 50 attendees and three faculty members, even when the meeting was adjourned people were still talking about it. Ziesemer even said after the fact to his Victimology class, “…this is what we really want, is for people to talk.”
The purpose of Mega Mondays is to “meet, eat, grow, and act,” and with free food offered in the beginning, a fascinating subject discussed with and by peers and learning, it is readily achieved. Mega Mondays is a great way to interact with peers, and get awareness of issues and maybe even join a new club offered on the CF campus.
For Mega Mondays complete spring 2017 schedule, visit: http://cfinsider.org/spring-2017-mega-mondays-schedule
Story and photos by: Amber Rondeau