RICHMOND, Va. -- Senator Tim Kaine (D - VIRGINIA) spoke about ideas to make Virginia's communities safer during a gun violence prevention roundtable discussion at New Life Deliverance Tabernacle in Richmond on Monday. While some of Sen. Kaine's ideas included new restrictions and strengthening gun laws, Richmond parent Mark Whitfield suggested a different focus.
Whitfield's daughter Markiya Dickson was shot and killed Memorial Day weekend in a Richmond park.
The nine-year-old girl was playing at Fonticello/Carter Jones Park with family and friends when a fight broke out in another section of the park. Bullets fired during that fight killed Markiya. An 11-year-old boy was also shot. He survived.
Whitfield said he believed more needed to be done to improve the lives of children in their community.
"It's quick to blame the government, the police, whatever, but it all starts at home," he said. "We need to start getting parents these parenting skills."
In addition to parenting skills, Whitfield said children needed more activities to keep them busy while parents worked and he urged neighbors to step up and keep an eye out for kids who may need help.
Following the death of his daughter, he said he planned to walk different neighborhoods, talk to people, and offer help when needed.
"You're not safe anywhere, but how can we change that?" he asked Senator Kaine. "For every problem, there's a solution."