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Dads and sons bond in meeting aimed to strengthen families, tackle city violence

 A meeting brought fathers and their sons to an east Columbus school Wednesday night in an effort to focus on the importance of family and tackling the city’s violence. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A meeting brought fathers and their sons to an east Columbus school Wednesday night in an effort to focus on the importance of family and tackling the city’s violence.

Legendary local basketball coach James “Satch” Sullinger spoke to the boys and men at Yorktown Middle School. Sullinger said his message had different messages for everyone in attendance.

"One to the dads about what are responsibilities are as fathers. Then to the sons, what they're responsibilities are to the family, and then the third one what our responsibility is to our communities."

Sullinger’s presentation was made to a room full of boys and men, all of them black.

Columbus currently has 113 homicides for 2017. According to Columbus Police, a recent breakdown of the violence showed nearly 80 percent of victims and suspects in the homicides were black.

"Our battle right now is with the street,” said Sullinger.

Wednesday night’s presentation also included a brief Q&A session with Sullinger followed by a pickup basketball game with the dads and their sons.

Lajuan Butler and his son were among the roughly 50 people who showed up to the gathering. Butler explained he does everything in his power to make sure his son stays out of trouble.

"I just spend a lot of time with him, as much as I humanly, possibly can,” said Butler.

Among the crowd, there were no illusions on solving the city’s issues. However, Sullinger is confident Wednesday night’s meeting is a first step.

"What's that old expression? The consumption of an elephant is one bite at a time. This is just one bite,” said Sullinger.

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