Dozens gather at Danville city hall in hopes of making 2018 better than 2017

Annual prayer held Monday

DANVILLE, Va. – Braving the frigid weather Monday afternoon, nearly 6 dozen people gathered to encourage neighbors to make 2018 better than 2017.

Pastor Eunice Mayfield read a poem directed at the African-American community.

"Remember those who died. Stop the violence," Mayfield recited loudly. "Think about the love, and not hate. It's not too difficult and it's not too late."

There were 14 homicides in Danville last year, following a record-breaking 16 cases in 2016.

The gathering is an annual event, organized by Bishop Lawrence Campbell Sr.

He said it's held to address all issues the city is facing, including violence.

"The purpose of the prayer is holistic. It's to deal with the tripartite nature of man's body, soul and spirit," Campbell said.

Reducing violence has been the No. 1 priority for city council members since their retreat in October of 2016 when they put together a list of their priorities.

The second priority has been improving education.

The Rev. Emmett Young III addressed that during today's event.

"We ask, Lord God, that you would prepare classrooms in the name of Jesus, that they will not be pipelines to prison," Young said.

"We lift up to you right now all of our children, all of our teachers, all of our schools, our entire school system, our school board, our superintendent."

Prayers were also offered for the nation, the city government and families.

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