WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A few organizations held anti-violence awareness events Saturday, hoping to unite the community and bring an end to the increasing violence.
“I needed to do something, you know, be that voice, because I know how it feels to lose a child so I wanted to be the one to speak out and just help in the community,” said Yolanda Hayes.
Hayes lost her son to gun violence in 2019, and now she is part of organizations like Moms-N-Mourning and Roc Wit Me Inc. to help raise awareness about this issue. Both of those organizations came together today for Anti-Violence Awareness Day.
Roc Wit Me CEO Scottie Paige said “it’s a group of things that has to be done, but we need everybody to participate in it. And that’s what this is about–to bring everybody out, everybody meet everybody, and also heal.” He has faith that together they can bring an end to the growing amount of violence in his hometown.
Paige was born and raised in Wilmington, but now lives in New York. He said it’s important to him to give back to where he came from.
But, the awareness doesn’t stop there. “We can’t ignore that there has been a lot of violence in Wilmington,” said Saint Luke Church Pastor Jermaine Armour. “We have to put something in their hand that they can carry. We’re putting information, we’re putting love, fresh fruit and vegetables, we’re putting vegetables. We want them to put down the gun and pick up the bookbag.”
He helped organize a Stop Youth Violence Rally during today’s Back to School Bash which was hosted by Wilmington Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (WIMA).
Many people, including Judy Knight, Founder and President of Moms-N-Mourning, are holding out hope that there’s a change with this increased awareness. “The importance of this rally today is about stopping the violence.”
For one ultimate goal: “so that’s my hope for today, that they can see unity and they can begin to unite,” said Hayes.
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