Community members, mayor-elect join together to confront crime

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 12:21 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - On Sunday, the “Men of Change” held their first gathering in south Augusta.

The group is aimed at holding Augusta’s men accountable and responsible for the city’s recent violence.

One notable figure in attendance, Augusta Mayor-Elect Garnett Johnson, said, “We’re going to have a continued effort to continue to look at how we make Augusta safe and how we provide a better way of life for these young people.”

This was organized by Mario Taylor, who previously ran for the Augusta commission and wants to form a committee.

Taylor said of the group, “So often we get into what the Sheriff’s Office is doing and not doing, what the Board of Education is doing, not doing, and not really thinking about what we should all be doing.”

The first meeting was held at the campaign headquarters of Johnson – a location he says is open to any organization interested in moving the community forward.

On top of supporting the conversation by providing the meeting space, Johnson addressed recent claims from current Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. about working together on addressing Augusta’s violent crimes.


Johnson said, “As I understand, Mayor Davis has a plan that he is going to release at some point, certainly don’t want to intercede on what he’s planning on doing, but just know that in January there’s going to be a continued conversation and a continued movement focused around how we address this violence issue in our community.”

Other community members, former convicts, and even commissioners shared stories about young men living in a “Village Mentality” and showed their support for coming to future meetings.

Ben Hasan, the Augusta Commission member for District 6, was also in attendance and showed his support by saying, “It won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile.”

Regardless of how often anyone shows up or supports “Men of Change” moving forward, the mission stands on two points which organizer Taylor says, “I just believe that it’s time for us to all be accountable and be responsible.”

While it’s not certain how regularly the group plans to have these meetings, Taylor says anyone can join, regardless of gender, by calling 706-627-6232