Council member Devyn Keith seeks conversation to create change in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Council member Devyn Keith made waves on social media last month by posting a video to his Facebook account, and now he is explaining the changes he wanted to make by posting it.

In the video, Keith explained how he and a friend attempted to break up a fight in his neighborhood and that just as they were about to gain control, the situation got out of hand. At the time, Keith called for change. He said it was troubling to see some resort to violence to solve problems.

Today, Keith said he wanted to inspire others with that video to make a difference in people’s lives all over the community.

“At some point, you have an opportunity in your life like I did that night to make a decision to be impactful,” Keith explained. “There are so many opportunities that will never make social media or never make the news that we have to take hold of to change our community.”

Keith said there is still work to do in that area. He said since the incident last July, in which police arrived and worked to break up the fight, he has spoken to one of the teenagers involved.

“I have interacted with the young man that I had a chance to converse with [then,] and his mother had a conversation with me as well about having the conversation around de-escalation. How do we really resolve conflicts?” he said. Keith later added, “I just think there’s an increased opportunity. How do we discuss de-escalation with our kids? The expectation that fighting is absolutely not the answer, especially in a mob-type environment.”

Keith said conversation can be the first step to a breakthrough in a child’s life, and he wants people to seize the opportunity where possible.

“I am somebody who had a moment in my life where somebody changed my life through a conversation,” he said. “I believe in the issues we feel around police. I believe in the issues we feel around crime. But we have to have accountability.”

Keith also held a conversation of a different kind with young professionals in Huntsville Tuesday. He said he wanted to find out more about how they feel about the downtown moving forward.

“No matter the age range, no matter where you’re from, what we’re doing downtown will affect all of Huntsville.”

Some told him they wanted to see more opportunities to come together downtown through outdoor events and activities. Others said diversity was important to them, in order to keep the downtown a mixture of people, housing, and options.