MEMPHIS, Tenn.– A Memphis-based group trying to curb violence against and among youth is calling for more action and says stricter enforcement of a curfew could help.

Kenny Lee, Vice President of Ride of Tears, an organization bringing awareness to children lost to gun violence, wants action.

“We’re tired! We are tired of being sick and tired. What else do we need to do,” Lee said. “We need a curfew and we need one today. Not an email. We need you to do something today.”

He’s calling for young people to be home by 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on the weekends.

Previous reporting from WREG in 2014 shows a minor curfew in place that starts at 10 on weeknights for 16-year-olds and 11 on weeknights for those between 17 and 18 years old.

The times increase on the weekends. 

Lee said enforcement is needed. 

“It’s not being enforced, because you know what, they put it in the book and ain’t doin nothin’ else about it.  They just put it in writing,” he said.

His calls to action come as he mourns the loss of his godmother Dr. Yvonne Nelson, a community activist who was recently killed in Raleigh. 

“I’m still in shock because she was a staple not only in Memphis but she was Whitehaven,” Lee said.

He said it takes a community to raise children and parents need to be held accountable. 

“Channel 3 says, ‘Do you know where your children are?’ Every night they ask that question. But do you really pay attention to what they’re saying? I mean you’re sitting there looking at the news, you see what’s happening. Our kids is in the news more than anything,” Lee said.

We reached out to the Memphis Mayor’s Office and the Memphis Police Department for their response. MPD said officers can only issue a summons for the violation and then call a parent or guardian to pick them up.

Read MPD’s full statement below:

If a juvenile is found to be out after curfew, officers can only issue a summons for the violation. When an officer encounters a juvenile, the officer will attempt to contact a parent or guardian to come pick up the child, or the officer can take them home. Juvenile Court will not take a child for curfew violation. This means an officer will have to stand by, out of service, until someone comes and picks up the child.

We ask that parents and guardians be aware of their children’s whereabouts. Juvenile curfew violations can be reduced if parents and or guardians closely monitor the actions of their children. 

The Memphis Police Department