New effort being made in Danville to help reduce gun violence

June declared Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

DANVILLE, Va. – After finishing her speech, Mothers Stronger Together President Jean Jackson led about two dozen city council members, police officers and representatives from nonprofits chanting "No shootings, no homicides."

"It's not an 'I' thing, it's a 'we' thing, and together we can do this," Jackson said during her speech. "Pray for us as we go forward, help us with any ideas that you may have, and continue to stay with us as we go through this struggle, because these are all our children."

Mothers Stronger Together is a support group for mothers who have lost children to gun violence.

Jackson herself has lost several family members.

"I have a nephew that was murdered, I have a son that was murdered, I have a sister that was murdered, and I have a grandson that was murdered," Jackson said.

Danville City Manager Ken Larking said the news conference is a result of a meeting on May 14 at High Street Baptist Church.

"Dozens of people representing the community, nonprofits, city schools, and city government talked about the ways each of us are working to improve the lives of our young people growing up in challenging environments. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was decided that we needed a grass-roots initiative," Larking said.

He praised Jackson's efforts to help people come together.

"We want mothers like Jean Jackson, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors to all work together to stop violence before it happens," Larking said. "We've had too many lives destroyed by gun violence already to let there be any more. Everyone has a role to play to make this stop."

Jackson said having so many representatives from the city and nonprofits at the news conference is encouraging.

"It means we're going to get something done. We've got everybody's attention and we're going to get something done and we're going to do it," Jackson said.

On June 2, Mothers Stronger Together will meet at the fountain downtown from 6 to 8 p.m. and wear orange in honor of National Gun Awareness Day.

On June 9, Mothers Stronger Together will host a block party from 1 to 5 p.m. at White Rock Baptist Church.

The community is encouraged to attend both events.

About the Author: